Following on the heels of Ontario’s draconian Road Safety Act (discussed at some length in one of my earlier Slaw posts) The B.C. Liberal government has introduced legislation that would create a Provincial offence for driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) between 0.05-0.08 (the Criminal Code legal limit is 0.08). The penalty for a first offender would be a 3-day driving ban plus a $200 fine rising from there for each subsequent offence.
Not to be outdone by Ontario though, B.C.’s law proposes to go a step further by also creating a Provincial offence of driving over 0.08. In this case, penalties would start with a 90-day licence suspension and a $500 fine.
It is with some irony that I note that this type of non-criminal regulation of impaired driving is very similar to what I proposed in this space only a month ago. The only differences (for anyone keeping track): I was prepared to impose heftier penalties that mimicked the existing fines and suspensions for the Criminal Code offence of impaired driving and, my proposal was predicated upon replacing certain Criminal Code impaired charges with Provincial alternatives whereas B.C. appears perfectly content to penalize people twice for the same offence.