The toughest drinking and driving sanctions in the country aim to put the brakes on a disturbing upswing in the number of impaired drivers on B.C. roads, the province’s solicitor general said Thursday.

The new sanctions, which were introduced in the spring, come into effect across the province on Monday.

“We need to change behaviour,” said Mike de Jong.

“(These sanctions) are tough by design. They are intended to reverse driving trends that are headed, for the moment, in the wrong direction.”

The number of impaired drivers on B.C. roads at night increased to 2.7 per cent in 2008, up from two per cent in 1995.

At night, roughly one in 32 drivers is impaired.

The new rules were created to honour four-year-old Alexa Middelaer, who was killed in 2008 by a drunk driver in Delta.

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