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Date: June 13, 2013

BCs drinking and driving laws mean fewer deaths

Significantly fewer people are dying in alcohol-related crashes in British Columbia, thanks to the province’s new drinking and driving laws. A new study by the University of Victoria’s Centre for Addictions Research (CARBC), released online today ,indicates the number of fatal alcohol-related collisions has decreased by more than 40 per cent under the new law.

The Immediate Roadside Prohibition (IRP) legislation was passed in 2010 to help police and the courts more effectively process drinking drivers and increase the likelihood of apprehension and punishment. The legislation largely replaced laws under the Criminal Code of Canada, which had more severe penalties but also lower probability of punishment.

“It’s clear the Immediate Roadside Prohibition legislation saves lives,” says Scott Macdonald, CARBC assistant director. “Our findings suggest every province and territory in Canada should have its own legislation regarding drinking and driving.”

Macdonald and his team of researchers from CARBC and the University of British Columbia worked with the government of BC to conduct a third-party evaluation of the impact of the legislation by examining three types of outcomes from alcohol-related collisions—fatalities, injuries and property damage. The study compares statistics from the 15-year period before and two-year period after the implementation of the legislation.

“These results demonstrate that our approach to reducing the amount of alcohol-related injuries and fatalities on our roads is working," says Suzanne Anton, Attorney General and Minister of Justice. "To date, an estimated 104 lives have been saved since BC's impaired driving law came into effect in 2010. At its heart this program is about keeping our roads safe so drivers can get home to their families."

Along with the 40 per cent reduction in fatalities from alcohol-related crashes, they found significant declines for injuries (23 per cent) and property damage (19.5 per cent).

The CARBC study, “The Impact on Alcohol-Related Collisions of the Partial Decriminalization of Impaired Driving in British Columbia” is available (online) in the peer-reviewed academic journal Accident Analysis and Prevention.

Backgrounders:
What community leaders are saying
BC’s drinking and driving laws

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Media contacts:

Scott Macdonald (CARBC) at (o) 250-472-5933, (c) 250-213-1669 or scottmac@uvic.ca
Mitch Wright (UVic Communications) at 250-721-6139 or mwwright@uvic.ca

 

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Backgrounders:
What community leaders are saying
BCs drinking and driving laws

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