Roadside penalty appeals considered

Police in B.C. have wide discretion to impose fines and impound vehicles for suspected impaired driving.

VICTORIA – The B.C. government is considering an appeal period for drivers facing steep new roadside penalties imposed by police.Legislation took effect last September giving B.C. the toughest penalties for impaired driving and excessive speeding in Canada. After hundreds of drivers were fined and had their vehicles seized, Public Safety Minister Rich Coleman announced a review of the new measures late last year.Tuesday he told Kamloops radio station CHNL that the government is considering an appeal period before fines or other penalties take effect. Coleman wasn’t available to elaborate, but his office issued a statement later in the day.”One change we are considering is implementing a process so you have a certain amount of time to appeal the offence,” the statement said. “The change would be similar to a traffic ticket, where you either accept or reject the claim, and have a certain amount of time to appeal the offence.”Such a change would have to be debated and passed in the legislature to take effect.Police in B.C. now have the option of imposing an immediate penalty on anyone who fails a roadside breath test. Instead of issuing a 24-hour suspension or a formal impaired charge, police can impose a 90-day driving ban, a $500 fine and impound the vehicle for 30 days, with the owner on the hook for the towing and storage charges.The penalties mean one failed roadside test could cost a driver $3,750 before driving again, and that is before any criminal code charges and suspensions that may also result.A blood alcohol reading in the “warn” range between 0.05 and 0.08 per cent can result in a three-day driving ban, a $200 “administrative penalty” and another $250 fee to have a driver’s licence reinstated. Drivers may also have their car impounded for three days.More than 1,400 drivers were hit with the steeper penalties in the first 20 days of the new rules. Pub and restaurant owners complained that people were afraid to have a single drink after work, and defence lawyers said the government was giving police officers too much discretion to impose penalties.

Just Posted

North Island Tour De Rock rider Benjamin Leah leads team to Port Hardy

“You don’t have issues and problems when you look at these kids and how much they’re going through.”

North Island local elections face a number of acclamations

Alert Bay, Sayward, and Zeballos have unopposed mayoral elections

Vancouver Island pharmacist suspended for giving drugs with human placenta

RCMP had samples of the seized substances tested by Health Canada

Fishin’ Corner: Stand up for your fishing rights

“Don’t give in to DFO and their quota bureaucracy that the fish belong to everyone.”

B.C. students send books to displaced students of Hornby Island school fire

Maple Ridge elementary school teacher says students learned about acts of kindness

VIDEO: Tour de Rock rider says event provides badly needed support

Cancer survivor and volunteer firefighter Nicole Emery speaks about importance of fundraising tour

Rattie scores 3 as Oilers blank Canucks 6-0

Vancouver slips to 1-5 in exhibition play

Veterans Affairs ordered to take second look before supporting vets’ relatives

Liberal government ordered officials to adopt a more critical eye

Dead B.C. motorcyclist was member of group that raced down mountain road

Some group members record their rides on Strathcona Parkway and post times to page

Indigenous athletes in spotlight at BC Sports Hall of Fame

New gallery to feature Carey Price, Kaila Mussel and Richard Peter

B.C. couple who went missing on flight from Edmonton named by family

Family released a statement Wednesday saying they’re still intent on finding the two-seater plane

VIDEO: A close look at what you were breathing during the B.C. wildfire season

Electron microscope images show soot and tar particles generated by worst B.C. fire season

Island man calls 911 after being robbed of his drugs

Nineteen-year-old and 15-year-old suspects face multiple charges following robbery Monday in Nanaimo

B.C. woman donates $250,000 to ovarian cancer research for friends

Two of Patty Pitts’s friends passed away from the disease within a year

Most Read