B.C.'s drunk driving penalties could be stronger, advocate says
Alyse Kotyk, CTV News Vancouver
Published Tuesday, September 17, 2019 2:23PM PDT
After two recent Metro Vancouver incidents with impaired drivers endangering kids' safety, an advocate says B.C.'s drunk driving penalties could be more strict.
Last Friday, RCMP say an 18-year-old boy was hit by a dark blue Nissan Pathfinder. The victim was taken to hospital, treated for his injuries and released. Not long after, a 12-year-old boy was hit by what is believed to be the same Pathfinder.
Reports suggested the boy, who was taken to hospital in critical condition, was walking home from school at the time.
Then on Saturday, a Vancouver police sergeant posted to Twitter that she had recently pulled over a female impaired driver who was travelling with damage to her vehicle.
"I get to her window. Before I can say anything, the eight-year-old passenger starts yelling," Sgt. Sandra Glendinning's post said.
According to Glendinning's tweet the child said, "Thank God you pulled us over! I thought we were all going to die!"
Both of these incidents were upsetting to hear about for Bob Rorison, with Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
"I was shocked and dismayed," Rorison told CTV Morning Live Vancouver Tuesday. "But I have heard this before."
Rorison said he has given presentations at schools where he's been told about impaired driving incidents by students. He always encourages them to talk to their teachers or principals if they ever see or hear of somebody who is driving while impaired.
"It's bizarre. When you're getting in a car and you're impaired you're mixing with all the other cars on the road," he said.
"Think of an elementary school, when it's getting out: all the children are running to the cars of their parents or they're running across the street, kids are all over the place … the chances of something happening are really high."
In B.C., anyone with a blood alcohol concentration between 0.05 and 0.08 gets a three-day licence suspension, three-day vehicle impoundment and $200 fine for their first offence. A second offence gets a seven-day suspension and impoundment with a $300 fine. At a third offence, that goes to 30 days, a $400 fine, a mandatory course and enrolment in the ignition interlock program.
However, Rorison explained that some provinces have increased their penalties for drunk drivers.
"They're stronger at the first time, second time and third time. The driver faces more severe penalties. It's considered child endangerment," he said. "In Saskatchewan … they start at the seven-day interval and they go on."
According to MADD, on average, four Canadians are killed and 175 are injured by impairment-related crashes every day.
"It's not getting better," he said. "It destroys your life when you're hit by a drunk driver."
As of Monday, Mounties were still investigating the series of hit-and-runs in Langley and possibly elsewhere in the Lower Mainland.
In the Vancouver incident, police say the driver was charged with impaired driving and the province's Ministry of Child and Family Development was notified.