New DUI Laws Proposed in British Columbia

By Topher

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.”



Multiple DUI Arrests Lead to Lifetime Driving Ban

By Topher

A Canadian man has been arrested for drunk driving so many times the courts didn’t just suspend his license: They banned him from driving for life.

According to an article in the Canadian Press, Nova Scotia resident Terry Naugle has racked up a total of 68 convictions in past 32 years. Of these, 22 were DUI related and 14 charges were for driving on a revoked license.

So far he has served 22 years in prison for all his separate convictions, with no sentence lasting more than three years. His driving privileges have also been revoked many times, but he continues to ignore these sentences. Thus, it’s unclear if the lifetime driving ban will have much impact.

Naulge never stayed in jail too long because he never seriously injured or killed someone while drinking and driving.

His latest arrest occurred in March 2009 when he hit a parked vehicle on an off ramp. The McMillan family had pulled over their car because they ran out of gas.

Mr. McMillan walked to the gas station leaving behind his wife and teenage daughter. Naugle drove his car onto the off ramp and side swiped their vehicle, and then proceeded to leave the scene.

David McMillan was walking back when he saw Naugle hit the car. He jumped into the driver’s seat and the family followed Naugle into a gas station.

They claimed that Naugle reeked of alcohol while staggering and slurring his words. He then fled again, but was later arrested by RCPM officers who were at the gas station.

Naugle pleaded guilty to driving with a restricted license, refusing to take a breathalyzer, and fleeing the scene of the accident. He was sentenced to eight and half years for driving under the influence.

Most sentences for DUI charges in Nova Scotia are short term, but when viewed in light of his prior convictions the judge thought a longer sentence was necessary.

Judge Frank Hoskins, who oversaw the court case, said “Mr. Naugle’s record for impaired driving is one of the worst I’ve ever seen.”

Julia McMillan and MADD (Mothers against Drunk Driving) hoped that the judge was going to classify Naugle as a dangerous offender with his long history of DUI convictions. Instead, he received only the longer sentence and lifetime ban.