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Questions & info about the Motor Vehicle Act. Mature discussion only.

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Old 12-18-2011, 08:26 PM   #1
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DriveSmartBC - 45 Deaths That Didn't Occur

I'm no stranger to death by automobile. It was never a pleasure to investigate fatalities and for me there was no satisfaction in the successful prosecution of the impaired driver that caused them. Many more people than the direct victims were hurt and I knew that the only way I could really contribute was to hunt down the impaired driver and stop them.

Today's press release in relation to the first year of the Immediate Roadside Prohibition (IRP) program refers to 45 deaths that didn't happen on BC's highways during that time. However, turn it around and look at the 71 that did if we accept the average of the past five years. We've still got a long way to go.

I maintain a collision counter on my DriveSmartBC web site that ticks upward each day based on the totals for the last year's collision statistics published by ICBC. Today it shows 115 alcohol related collision deaths and 2511 alcohol related collision injuries. We are very fortunate that the totals may now be overstating the problem.

So, to those that subscribe to the philosophy that drinking means not driving and driving means not drinking and to the officers that are continuing the hunt, you have my respect and encouragement. For those of you who haven't learned yet, I hope you don't hurt anyone before you realize that wisdom. It shouldn't be possible for police to catch 15,401 "fail" drivers during year, but experience tells me it is still a small part of the real total.

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Old 12-19-2011, 11:41 PM   #2
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With over 15,000 drivers driving with a BAC of .08 or higher (assuming the machine was accurate and the drivers had zero medical issues that could affect the reading), you have to ask if the new laws are really working?

Do you know how many were caught with a BAC of .08 per year before these laws took effect?
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Old 12-20-2011, 07:17 AM   #3
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With over 15,000 drivers driving with a BAC of .08 or higher (assuming the machine was accurate and the drivers had zero medical issues that could affect the reading), you have to ask if the new laws are really working?


I guess you might ask the bar owners who were complaining that they were loosing business because they could no longer overserve their patrons...or the people who finally started fearng the existing .05+ laws that were being enforced? I have also seen recent media reports about counterattack blitzes that only resulted in a few charges where past checks would result in many.

Do you know how many were caught with a BAC of .08 per year before these laws took effect?
This would be hard to find I guess as many of the 215 suspensions given were to people in the 08+ bracket, due to the very reasons that brought us the new legislation. I have read media reports that the number of 253 impaired driving charges dropped drastically since the new legislation but I don't know how you would match/contrast that to previous numbers as the rules of the game changed?
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Old 12-20-2011, 09:53 AM   #4
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I don't think bar owners were complaining that they couldn't overserve, but I do seem to recall that they were worried that patrons wouldn't order any alcohol with their meal for fear that a glass of wine would put them over the limit.


From 1997 to 1998 BC saw alcohol fatalities drop by 30. 2004-2005 it rose by 27. While rare, we do see big number changes from year to year.

So when we look at the "45 deaths that didn't occur" it's difficult to say what percentage is directly attributable to the new punishments, and furthermore it's almost impossible to say how the immediacy of the punishment impacts that number.


I'm not sure I consider 15,000 drunks on the road much of a success story.
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Old 12-20-2011, 09:31 PM   #5
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If they didn't overserve then their patrons would not be over .05 and get busted for impaired. They wouldn't use those words but ask any server in a bar about what happens when they serve people enough to become impaired....they spend lots of money in the bar and the owner is very happy.If people only drink enough to remain under .05 the bar doesn't make as much money on booze.

"I'm not sure I consider 15,000 drunks on the road much of a success story.



I would consider removing those 15,000 drunks from the road was "much of a success story".
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Old 12-22-2011, 01:53 PM   #6
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I would consider removing those 15,000 drunks from the road was "much of a success story".
It is a success story....and that is why the drinking and driving death stats are down....NOT because of the new laws......
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Old 12-22-2011, 03:50 PM   #7
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Simnut - as I said before, it wouldn't be the first time we've seen a year to year fluctuation in the number of drink driving deaths 25 or more.

It is therefore not at all unreasonable to assume that many of the 45 deaths that these laws have been cited for preventing wouldn't have occurred anyway.

As for the 15,000 drunks who were removed from the road - the police already had laws on the books that allowed these people to be caught and removed from the road.
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Old 12-22-2011, 05:27 PM   #8
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As a matter of interest on this subject...news headlines in Comox/Couretnay. RCMP did 2 major Counter Attack blitzes on "drunk fishing areas" and after checking 1000 vehicles they got zero impaireds or even 05-08. Did get drug seizures and some tickets but no DUIs'. I worked this area for 20 years and that is unheard of...zero impaired. They didn't just work main roads, they sat on side roads and "escape routes" used by drunks to avoid the Cops. Something has changed.
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Old 12-28-2011, 10:59 AM   #9
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VANCOUVER — News that a sober Abbotsford, B.C., police officer tried out the department's breathalyzer and failed the test is enough to send chills down the spine of any designated driver in this holiday season.

A Vancouver lawyer says the machines police rely on to take drunk drivers off the road and deliver hefty financial penalties are notoriously faulty and things haven't improved in the year since more than 2,000 were taken out of service for recalibration.

[...]
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So no chance any of the 15,000 drunks that were taken off the road were sober, eh?
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Old 12-28-2011, 11:11 AM   #10
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"A Vancouver lawyer says..."

So no chance this guy is an ambulance chaser, eh?
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Old 12-28-2011, 04:04 PM   #11
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So the Police are testing them for accuracy before use and are finding problems that are either rectified or the unit is not used? Radar and Laser instruments are tested before use every day. If they are found defective they are no longer used and sent to the manufacturer's repair centre or removed from service. The ambulance chaser is uspet that defects are being found and remedied? Wonder why ?
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Old 12-28-2011, 04:17 PM   #12
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How often are the ASDs tested for correct calibration?

As for laser calibration - what's the procedure for testing a laser gun and what models are used in BC?
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Old 12-28-2011, 04:31 PM   #13
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How often are the ASDs tested for correct calibration?
Historically the ASD calibration test period was 14 days. Recently it was changed to 4 weeks. Is this wise...as undisclosed police records showing ASDs being out by as much as 35% when tested for calibration? If these devices need to be calibrated in the first place, should they not be calibrated everytime they are used? Especially if they are to be used as the government wants to now?? What if a device, at time of calibration, is found to be faulty? What about the driver that was "convicted" the day before with the use of that device?

Even, as mentioned, laser and radar instruments are calibrated BEFORE use....every day....and those are used just to give speeding tickets!
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Old 12-28-2011, 09:50 PM   #14
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I don't think bar owners were complaining that they couldn't overserve, but I do seem to recall that they were worried that patrons wouldn't order any alcohol with their meal for fear that a glass of wine would put them over the limit.
Pubs and bars are hurting big time right now. Liquor stores are getting more business because people are drinking more at home now. The government should have done something to reduce the cost of Taxi's when this law came into effect.
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Old 12-29-2011, 10:17 AM   #15
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The government should have done something to reduce the cost of Taxi's when this law came into effect.
They should also have done something to reduce auto thefts (sorry, tow-aways) and limit parking fines for people who left their vehicle downtown overnight after having a few pints with dinner.
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Old 12-29-2011, 10:21 AM   #16
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I have the solution for the whole ASD debate: zero-tolerance. The mere whiff of alcohol on a driver's breath should then be enough, no unreliable machinery required.
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Old 12-29-2011, 10:22 AM   #17
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Historically the ASD calibration test period was 14 days. Recently it was changed to 4 weeks.
Once a month?

Ok, well if that's what is deemed acceptable then so be it. But if you blow a warn and opt for a second blow on a second device, what are the chances that the second device is also 3+ weeks off of calibration?

I only see a reason to re-calibrate if the device shows an incorrect reading, but IMO it should be checked for accuracy at the start of the shift.
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Old 12-29-2011, 10:38 AM   #18
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I have the solution for the whole ASD debate: zero-tolerance. The mere whiff of alcohol on a driver's breath should then be enough, no unreliable machinery required.
That's impractical and also open to problems.
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Old 12-29-2011, 12:03 PM   #19
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That's impractical and also open to problems.
You're very good at finding problems.

Too bad you never have any solutions.
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Old 12-29-2011, 12:18 PM   #20
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You're very good at finding problems.

Too bad you never have any solutions.
When the penalty is potential death and people still choose to drive while drunk, sometimes there just aren't any solutions.
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Old 12-29-2011, 12:31 PM   #21
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When the penalty is potential death and people still choose to drive while drunk, sometimes there just aren't any solutions.
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Old 12-29-2011, 01:27 PM   #22
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I think what he means is......that your chances of dying or killing someone else greatly increases when you drive impaired. But even in the face of those facts, people still drive drunk. So, the chance of death isn't even a deterrent to those that insist on driving drunk......why would these new "solutions" work?

Last edited by Simnut; 12-29-2011 at 01:33 PM.
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Old 12-29-2011, 01:27 PM   #23
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And your solution is just to roll your eyes at the problem?
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Old 12-29-2011, 01:28 PM   #24
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Once a month?

Ok, well if that's what is deemed acceptable then so be it. But if you blow a warn and opt for a second blow on a second device, what are the chances that the second device is also 3+ weeks off of calibration?

I only see a reason to re-calibrate if the device shows an incorrect reading, but IMO it should be checked for accuracy at the start of the shift.
How many people even know they CAN request a second blow? How would you even know it's an incorrect reading to begin with? How many people know they can request a roadside test if they are given a 24 hour prohibition by observation only? The police are NOT required to inform you of these rights..........

Last edited by Simnut; 12-29-2011 at 01:34 PM.
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Old 12-29-2011, 01:34 PM   #25
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How many people even know they CAN request a second blow? How many people know they can request a roadside test if they are given a 24 hour prohibition by observation only? The police are NOT required to inform you of these rights..........
I would imagine when you've blown a warn at the side of the road with police cars and flashing lights and police men and others staring at you you're probably not thinking "the MVA section blah blah blah entitles me to a second blow on a second device..."

Not that it really matters anyway since you're not allowed to call the accuracy of the second device into question. It's a gamble, really.


EDIT: That's why I asked previously if someone convicted of drunk-driving can request a blood test. These roadside devices (and the datamaster back at the clink) estimate BAC based on substances in the breath. A diabetic for example who has had nothing to drink can receive an inaccurate reading.
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Last edited by sebberry; 12-29-2011 at 01:40 PM.
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