Drinking and Driving Zero Tolerance

Keys and DrinkI wrote this article back in 2004. Since then the B.C. government has enacted the Immediate Roadside Prohibition (IRP) program, reducing the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) threshold for sanctions from 80 mg% to 50 mg%. In addition, the federal government implemented mandatory alcohol screening for any driver in December 2018.

The IRP is much easier for police to administer and I suspect that caused a significant drop in the number of criminal code impaired driving charges.

There have been 7,405 IRPs issued in B.C. between January and July, 2020 and ICBC reports that impaired driving is a factor in between 20 and 25% of collisions.

In 2004 I observed that using alcohol helps drivers make poor decisions. Of course, the decision of importance to us all is “do I drive, or have I had too much?” This is a decision that should be simple, if you drink don’t drive, and the law should reinforce that.

The Graduated Licensing Program (GLP) for new drivers requires exactly that, a zero BAC. If you drive after consuming any alcohol, you will be prohibited from driving for 12 hours if caught. Should your BAC be over 50 mg% you will be treated like all other drivers and once this information reaches the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles, GLP drivers can expect to receive another prohibition.

It is past time to extend the GLP rules to all drivers. This will help eliminate the possibility of a bad decision because it would now be “I had a drink, I can’t drive” instead of “do I drive, or have I had too much?”

Perhaps there should be a traffic ticket, complete with penalty points, for driving with a measurable BAC before the 50 mg% threshold is reached. Currently a non-GLP driver faces no sanction at all until their BAC reaches 50 mg%.

Is a driver traveling at 20 km/h over the speed limit a greater risk than a driver with a BAC of 40 mg%? The University of Michigan Health suggests that having a 20 mg% BAC will result in a decline in visual function, the inability to perform two tasks at the same time, a loss of judgment and altered mood.

The speeder gets a ticket and the 40 mg% driver goes free today unless their impairment causes them to violate a driving rule. In that case, they would be ticketed for the rule violation.

Ignition interlock devices could be mandatory equipment for new vehicles and some countries are currently considering requiring auto makers to do this. An Australian cost-benefit analysis found the following:

Overall, it was concluded that due to the investigated interlock’s user friendliness and relative affordability in comparison to other interlocks, the device should be considered as a countermeasure for curbing the drink driving problem in Australia.

If you are concerned about impaired driving, please support your local anti drinking and driving public interest group such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Together we can make a difference!

Cst. Tim Schewe (Ret.) runs DriveSmartBC, a community web site about traffic safety in British Columbia. For 25 years he was an officer with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, including five years on general duty, 20 in traffic and 10 as a collision analyst responsible for conducting technical investigations of collisions. He retired from policing in 2006 but continues to be active in traffic safety through the DriveSmartBC web site, teaching seminars and contributing content to newspapers and web sites.

#DriveSmartBC

Holiday CounterAttack roadchecks start this weekend

Holiday CounterAttack roadchecks start this weekend

This year’s holiday CounterAttack campaign is kicking off this weekend with police roadchecks set up across the province. ICBC and police are urging drivers to plan ahead and make smart decisions to get home safely this holiday season.

Although COVID-19 has changed many things, it hasn’t changed the law – if you plan to drink, don’t drive.

“We know celebrations will look different this holiday season,” said Lindsay Matthews, ICBC’s vice-president of public affairs and driver licensing. “If you’ve been drinking at home, please stay home and don’t drive. When you drink and drive, you not only risk your life but those of others on the road. We all need to do our part to prevent crashes and save lives. If you plan to drink, plan ahead.”

Impaired driving remains a leading cause of fatal car crashes, with an average of 67 lives lost every year in B.C. More than half of impaired-related crashes (56 per cent) occur on the weekend (Friday to Sunday).

“We fully support our road safety partners and the CounterAttack campaign and will be out in force over the holiday season to deter impaired driving,” said Superintendent Holly Turton, vice-chair of the B.C. Association of Chiefs of Police Traffic Safety Committee. “Police will utilize mandatory alcohol screening, Standardized Field Sobriety Testing and Drug Recognition Experts to identify and remove alcohol and drug affected drivers from our roads to make BC’s roads some of the safest in the world.”

For more than 40 years, ICBC has implemented impaired driving education campaigns and funded CounterAttack enhanced police enforcement.

ICBC leads two impaired driving education campaigns every year. Learn more facts and tips in ICBC’s infographic.​

Statistics:*

  • On average, 17 people are killed in crashes involving impaired driving in the Lower Mainland every year.

  • On average, 11 people are killed in crashes involving impaired driving on Vancouver Island every year.

  • On average, 23 people are killed in crashes involving impaired driving in the Southern Interior every year.

  • On average, 17 people are killed in crashes involving impaired driving in North Central B.C. every year.

Editor’s notes:

  • Several police detachments throughout B.C. will invite media to attend CounterAttack roadchecks in their communities during a one-day blitz on December 5.

  • B-roll footage of a CounterAttack roadcheck is available for download.

Notes about the data:

*Fatal victim counts from police data based on five-year average from 2015 to 2019. Impaired is defined to include alcohol, illicit drugs and medicines.

Intact Financial Corporation set to leave optional automobile insurance market in British Columbia

TORONTOOct. 27, 2020 /CNW/ – Intact Financial Corporation (TSX: IFC) announced today that its brands Intact Insurance and belairdirect will no longer offer optional automobile coverage in British Columbia. This decision was taken after careful consideration given the upcoming regulatory changes in the province that will reduce competition and limit choices for consumers.

“We believe that consumers should have choice and flexibility when it comes to their insurance,” said Louis Gagnon, President, Canadian Operations, Intact Financial Corporation. “We have been closely assessing the optional automobile insurance market in British Columbia for some time and made the decision to shift focus to our other lines of business and providing enhanced services to consumers.”

As Canada’s leading home and auto insurance provider, Intact is committed to maintaining a strong presence in the province of British Columbia. Intact will continue to provide personal property, commercial P&C, surety and specialty insurance to individuals and businesses in British Columbia through its brands.

Intact develops products with changing consumer expectations in mind and offers multiple ways in which customers can purchase insurance – from advice-based support through brokers, to simplified, online convenience through belairdirect.

Intact is committed to working with customers and brokers to support them through this transition. Intact Insurance and belairdirect will stop writing new business on December 1, 2020 and renewals on January 1, 2021.

To learn more, Intact Insurance customers can work directly with their broker. For belairdirect customers, we encourage them to visit belairdirect.com/bcauto.

About Intact Financial Corporation

Intact Financial Corporation (TSX: IFC) is the largest provider of property and casualty (P&C) insurance in Canada and a leading provider of specialty insurance in North America, with over $11 billion in total annual premiums. The Company has approximately 16,000 employees who serve more than five million personal, business and public sector clients through offices in Canada and the U.S.

In Canada, Intact distributes insurance under the Intact Insurance brand through a wide network of brokers, including its wholly-owned subsidiary BrokerLink, and directly to consumers through belairdirect. Frank Cowan Company, a leading MGA, distributes public entity insurance programs including risk and claims management services in Canada.

In the U.S., Intact Insurance Specialty Solutions provides a range of specialty insurance products and services through independent agencies, regional and national brokers, and wholesalers and managing general agencies. Products are underwritten by the insurance company subsidiaries of Intact Insurance Group USA, LLC.

SOURCE Intact Financial Corporation

Related Links

www.intactfc.com

#DriveSmartBC – Stop, Look, Listen, THEN Report

TelephoneResponding to an emergency can sometimes be a significant challenge. One call I was involved with had us trying to find a three vehicle pileup in the northbound lanes of a major rural highway near where there had been a recent fire in the median. There was no indication of how bad any injuries were, but since the highway is posted at 110 km/h someone is probably hurt so police, fire and ambulance were all dispatched.

Things went downhill from there. The incident was nowhere near the place where the last grass fire in the median occurred.

When we did locate it, it was in the southbound lanes. One car had gone off the road and two others had stopped to give assistance. No one was hurt, damage was minimal and all that needed to be called was a tow truck.

Multiple emergency services were stood down. Thank goodness no one else needed them in the meantime and they were not involved in a crash themselves during the emergency run to get to the scene.

Cellular phones are wonderful inventions. Enhanced 911 will give dispatchers some idea where you are calling from but that accuracy depends on how close together the cell towers are. In rural areas, this could mean that they are far apart and location data is not as precise.

Old cellphones without an account, or even a SIM card, may still be able to dial 911. If you are using one to call for help it may not provide location data that is as precise as a cell phone with a current account will be.

If you dial an emergency number other than 911, the call will not report any location data.

Your smartphone will allow you to determine your location’s GPS co-ordinates. These can be passed directly to the dispatcher to pinpoint the problem. Know how to find them on your phone before the emergency occurs!

Now that you have the cavalry coming, how much of it is actually needed?

Taking two minutes to stop and inquire about the state of affairs at this scene is not a major inconvenience for you and makes all the difference for the victims and emergency services. Dispatch can send only what is needed, or decide properly that this is going to be a disaster that needs a full turnout of everything available.

How many people are hurt and how badly? How many vehicles are involved and what kind are they? Is the road blocked? Which side of the divided highway is the collision on? Being able to answer these simple questions can tailor the speed and quantity of the response to only what is really needed.

Sometimes the most valuable piece of information can be the licence plate number of the vehicles involved, especially in the case of an abandoned vehicle that has not been marked with crime scene or fire line tape to show it has already been investigated.

Don’t stop reporting incidents like this. However, please do it intelligently.

Cst. Tim Schewe (Ret.) runs DriveSmartBC, a community web site about traffic safety in British Columbia. For 25 years he was an officer with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, including five years on general duty, 20 in traffic and 10 as a collision analyst responsible for conducting technical investigations of collisions. He retired from policing in 2006 but continues to be active in traffic safety through the DriveSmartBC web site, teaching seminars and contributing content to newspapers and web sites.

www.drivesmartbc.ca

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