British Columbia officials have announced that they have proposed a tough new drunk driving law that includes swift DUI penalties for anyone convicted.
The proposed DUI laws would allow police to quickly suspend and fine drivers whose BAC level is as low as 0.05, according to the Vancouver Sun.
Billed as the toughest drunk driving law in Canada, the new law is designed to change the behavior of drivers in a dramatic fashion.
“We believe we need penalties that are clear, swift and sever,” said Solicitor-General Mike de Jong.
According to de Jong, the problem of drunk driving in British Columbia is on the rise. He cited the need to prevent others from putting people’s lives at risk.
“I hope that drivers will consider the seriousness of these sanctions while they’re sober, before they go out.”
The new law would, if enacted, enables an immediate three-day driving ban for drivers found to have a blood-alcohol level between 0.05 and 0.08, which the article called the “warn range.”
The offense could also lead to vehicles being impounded and fines and fees up to $600.
If a driver was caught in this blood-alcohol level range multiple times, they could face a ban of up to 30 days and $800 in fees and fines.
Currently in British Columbia, police issue a 24-hour suspension for those with a blood-alcohol level in that range.
The new law would also be tougher on those found driving with a BAC level above the 0.08. There would be an immediate 90-day driving ban and $3,750 in fees and fines. The DUI offender would also have to use an ignition interlock device for one year.
“Under the new laws, drinking drivers will spend more money, more time, more effort earning back their driving privileges,” said de Jong.
De Jong made a speech about the bill on the legislature steps, invoking the memory of four-year-old Alexa Middelaer, who was killed in 2008 by an allegedly impaired driver as she fed horses in a field just off the road.
Canadian Premier Gordon Campbell himself stressed the importance of stronger laws. He was arrested for DUI while on vacation in Hawaii in 2003.
“The lesson that I learned … is that you should not be drinking and driving, period,” he said. “I think it’s important for us to do everything we can to make our streets as safe as possible for people.”