MADD Canada

MADD Canada

October 21, 2010 15:46 ET

MADD Canada Responds to Police Union Criticism of New .05% Sanctions

Attention: News Editor OAKVILLE/ONTARIO/PRESS RELEASE--(Marketwire - Oct. 21, 2010) - Recent comments from the Vancouver Police Union questioning the benefits of British Columbia's .05% sanctions are surprising and disappointing, says MADD Canada.

"British Columbia has established a powerful deterrent which will stop people from driving impaired. Questioning the use of police resources on these sanctions seems to be at odds with the police's goal of taking impaired drivers off the roads," said MADD Canada Chief Executive Officer Andrew Murie in response to comments from Vancouver Police Union President Tom Stamatakis.

"Spending police resources on enforcement activities which prevent impaired driving is certainly better than spending them on processing and investigating crashes," Mr. Murie said.

Furthermore, the law itself is not new. Police have had the ability to suspend licences at the .05% level for many years, including impoundment of vehicles. Mr. Murie added that the feedback MADD Canada has heard from officers with the traffic units and on the front lines has been positive and supportive of the sanctions.

Mr. Stamatakis suggested that .05% sanctions target the wrong drivers - those who have a glass of wine or two with dinner - versus the problem drinkers. However, the statistics show that 35% to 45% of those charged with impaired driving are considered problem drinkers or alcoholics; the remainder, the majority, are people who drank too much on that particular day, rather than individuals who chronically over-drink.

"We need to be clear that police are not out there targeting people who are between .05% and .08%," Mr. Murie said. "When police pull someone over, they don't know whether the person is at .05% or above the legal limit. They just know that the driver was exhibiting signs of impaired driving."

Confusion over the new laws is being made worse by the misperceptions that a single drink will put someone over the .05% level. It takes more than one drink for most people to reach that level. Estimates of BACs in relation to time, weight and standard Canadian drinks indicate a 185 lb. man can have three standard drinks over a two-hour period and not go over the .05% BAC limit. Similarly, a 130 lb. woman can have two standard drinks over a two-hour period and not go over the limit.

MADD Canada continues to be fully supportive of the sanctions, which include a 3 day licence suspension and vehicle impoundment for drivers with BACs of .05% or higher. The suspensions and impoundments increase with repeat infractions and are accompanied by fines, mandatory education programs and mandatory alcohol ignition interlocks. Drivers caught with BACs of .08% and over face 90-day suspensions, $500 fines, 30-day vehicle impoundments and mandatory remedial driver programs.

"These sanctions are not an attack on the social drinker; they are not a strike at the hospitality industry; they are not an undue burden on police resources," Mr. Murie said. "These sanctions are an effective and realistic way to make British Columbia's roads safer from impaired drivers."

About MADD Canada
MADD Canada (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) is a national, charitable organization that is committed to stopping impaired driving and supporting the victims of this violent crime. With volunteer-driven groups in more than 100 communities across Canada, MADD Canada aims to offer support services to victims, heighten awareness of the dangers of impaired driving and save lives and prevent injuries on our roads.
/For further information: Andy Murie, Chief Executive Officer, 1-800-665-6233, ext. 224.
Tracy Crawford, Chapter Services Manager – BC/Yukon, 1-877-676-6233.

/ IN: JUSTICE, TRANSPORT

Contact Information

  • Tracy Crawford, Chapter Services Manager - BC/Yukon Region, MADD Canada
    Primary Phone: 877-676-6233