Hundreds of Albertans' cars impounded in B.C.
Hundreds of vacationing Albertans' cars have been impounded in B.C. under the province's tough drunk driving and speeding laws, according to statistics provided by the Ministry of Public Safety.
From last Sept. 20 to the end of June, 216 Alberta vehicles were impounded for impaired driving and another 171 were impounded for excessive speeding. Combined they make up about five per cent of total vehicles seized for drinking or speeding during that period.
Under B.C. law, drivers with blood-alcohol content between .05 and .08 can be prohibited from driving and have their vehicle impounded for three days. Drivers who blow over .08 can have their vehicle impounded for 30 days.
Premier Christy Clark defended the laws on Sunday, boasting that "the number of fatalities as a result of alcohol have been cut in half... it's pretty hard to argue with those statistics."
Those who break the posted speed limit by 40 kilometres in B.C. face a mandatory seven-day impoundment for a first offence -- but cars are only impounded in Alberta if a driver is caught disobeying a driving suspension, and seizing vehicles for speeding is uncommon throughout most of Canada.
Jack, a dispatcher at a towing business in Abbotsford, said his company is constantly dealing with out-of-province drivers who are indignant at having their vehicle impounded on the spot for speed.
"I would say surprised is generally the reaction of most people," he said. "They can be pretty aggressive. Most times we refer them to the police department that is involved because it's their decision."
"I appreciate that the idea is to get dangerous drivers off the road," Jack said, adding that "I think [drivers are] entitled to be upset."
Drivers caught speeding excessively also face a fine of $368 to $483.
Ontario has enacted a similar law impounding vehicles caught going more than 50 kilometres over the posted speed limit. The drivers also face a minimum fine of $2,000.
The Ministry of Public Safety says a total of 13,977 vehicles were impounded for impaired driving and 4,279 for excessive speed in B.C. from September to June.