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B.C. to up drunk driving costs

Drivers who fail a roadside breathalyzer can soon expect to pay almost $4,000 in fines, according to new legislation introduced in Victoria yesterday.

Drinking and driving in B.C. is about to get really expensive.

Drivers who fail a roadside breathalyzer can soon expect to pay almost $4,000 in fines, according to new legislation introduced in Victoria yesterday.

The new rules, which take effect in the fall, also impose sizable fines on drivers who have consumed roughly one to two beers, but are still under the legal limit.

“It’s the body count on B.C. highways,” said Solicitor General Mike de Jong.

Every year in British Columbia, he said, more than 100 people are killed and more than 3,000 people are injured from collisions involving impaired drivers.

The province aims to reduce alcohol-impaired driving fatalities by 35 per cent by 2013. The goal, de Jong added, is in memory of four-year-old Alexa Middelaer who was killed by an alleged drunk driver in Delta two years ago.

The penalties for failing a roadside screening include an automatic three-month driving ban and 30-day vehicle impoundment. They are in addition to any potential criminal charges, like impaired driving, that the driver could face.

Drivers who test in ‘warn’ range with a blood alcohol content of between 0.05 and 0.08 will now receive a driving ban and a fine.

The first incident results in a $200 fine and three-day ban, rising to a seven-day and $300 penalty for a second occurrence and 30-day and $400 for a third.

In addition, drivers who test in the ‘warn’ range will be charged a driver’s licence reinstatement fee of $250 and around $150 for having their vehicle impounded for three days.

The new regulations are the strictest impaired driving rules in the country.

 
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