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Motor vehicle

Drive Better!

Research articles : 

There is such an incredible shortage of common sense about the practicalities of driving, as well as so many people who seem unable to think clearly any more. You cannot get people to drive better just by saying "drive better". I think the problem of poor driving habits and some of the emotional and health issues (fatigue, stress, aggression, time shortage) behind bad driving are more a social problem.

This reader's observations are something that I have often commented on. Many drivers seem to be saying "I'm important, you are not. I'm in a hurry, get out of my way" when they are behind the wheel. Hiding in their steel cocoon, they are anonymous and to some extent is everyone else present on the highway. Perhaps because we don't know each other and probably won't ever meet face to face, we don't have to extend social courtesies to each other.

The Responsible Driver Program

Research articles : 

BC's Responsible Driver Program is required for drivers who have received an Immediate Roadside Prohibition for blowing a fail, having been convicted of an alcohol related driving offence or who have multiple alcohol related driving events on their driving record. The program may also be required because the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles has evidence that the driver has an alcohol abuse or misuse problem. The program is meant to reduce the risk of repeat alcohol related crashes and convictions.

Entry into the program starts with a structured interview to determine the level of rehabilitation required by the driver. The interview will inquire into drinking and drug use relating to driving incidents, coping styles and personality characteristics, family and social life, education, employment, legal and medical history. There will be two outcomes: a referral to either the 8 hour education stream or the 16 hour counselling stream.

Drivers must successfully complete their assigned program before they can apply for re-licensing. It is not enough to simply show up, you must show willingness to participate and show that you have applied the information, concepts and principles presented in the program.

Review of Immediate Roadside Prohibitions

Research articles : 

The most significant concern apparent to me with regard to the new Immediate Roadside Prohibition (IRP) program in BC is that the police are seen to be the judge and jury at roadside. This has been the case since the creation of the roadside prohibition many years ago, the only thing that has changed is the size of the penalty. Few people seem to be aware that this action is subject to review both by the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles and the courts.

There are three valid grounds for appeal of an IRP action: you did not operate or have can and control of the vehicle, your breath test did not register a warn or a fail and you either did not refuse or had a reasonable excuse for refusing to provide a breath sample. The Superintendent's adjudicator will not consider other reasons for review.

On application for review you will be provided with a copy of the police information that the adjudicator will consider. You may present your case either in writing or when permitted at an oral review. The decision will have one of three outcomes: the driving prohibition is revoked, the period of prohibition is changed or the prohibition is confirmed.

Fees and monetary penalties may be changed or refunded depending on the success of your review.

Requesting a Second Opinion

Research articles : 

Drivers who blow a warn or a fail under BC's new Immediate Roadside Prohibition (IRP) program may be concerned that the Approved Screening Device (ASD) used to test their breath was not operating properly when their sample of breath was tested. If this is the case, a second sample may be requested using a different ASD. This right may carry it's own danger if your reading was a warn.

Following the initial sampling of breath that produced the warn or fail analysis, the officer will read the demand requiring you to surrender your driver's license pursuant to section 215.41 of the Motor Vehicle Act. That demand advises a driver that they have the right to immediately request a second test using a different ASD. If the reading was a warn, the driver will also be told that if they choose to request that second test, regardless of the outcome, the result of that second test will apply.

The accuracy of a typical ASD is +/- 5 mg% at 100 mg%. This means that a driver with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 50 mg% (.05) may blow what the first ASD sees as between 50 and 55 mg% and show a warn result. The second ASD may decide that the sample is between 45 and 50 mg% and indicate a pass. This would mean that the driver's second sample prevails and an IRP is not proceeded with. Similarly, the same situation might turn a fail into a warn.

You Blew a Fail, What Now?

Research articles : 

After all the publicity concerning BC having the toughest impaired driving penalties in Canada you decide to drink and drive. You are stopped by police, blow a fail reading (BAC > 100 mg% or .10) on the screening device and are now in serious trouble for the first time in your driving career. What happens under the Immediate Roadside Prohibition (IRP) Program?

Effective immediately, you are prohibited from driving for a period of 90 days, the count starting at midnight on that day. There are no exceptions for work or any other circumstances.

The vehicle you are driving goes to jail for 30 days. It doesn't matter who the owner is, perhaps affecting your company or meaning you will have to pay rental fees while the vehicle sits idle. Towing and storage fees are your responsibility.

The IRP comes with a $500 monetary penalty, and once it ends, there will be a $250 driver's license reinstatement fee.

Now it's time to sign up for the Responsible Driver Program. You will be assessed and directed to one of three programs suited to your needs. The tuition fee is $880.

What Would My BAC Be?

Research articles : 

If you are a driver who will not say no to alcohol prior to driving, BC's new Immediate Roadside Prohibition (IRP) makes it critical to understand how drinking affects your blood alcohol concentration (BAC). How many standard drinks, 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of hard liquor, can you consume and still not be over the 50 mg% (.05) level? More importantly, if you continue to imbibe, will your BAC rise, fall or stay the same?

I am a 180 pound (82 kg) male with no health issues that affect my ability to metabolize alcohol. If I consume 3 drinks in an hour, my peak BAC will be 50 mg%. The peak will occur about 40 minutes after I stop drinking although this may be affected by the consumption of food which can extend the absorption period. I have to limit myself to 2 drinks in the first hour to avoid passing the limit and build in a bit of a safety factor.

My body will eliminate about 15 mg% (.015) from my BAC each hour. This means that I can keep my BAC at the level of 2 drinks by drinking a bit more than one drink each hour after the first hour. Drink more than that and it will rise, less and it will fall.

Stunting

Research articles : 

"stunt" means circumstances in which, taking into account the condition of the highway, traffic, visibility and weather, the driver or operator of a motor vehicle is driving or operating the motor vehicle without reasonable consideration for other persons using the highway or in a manner that is likely to cause harm to an individual or likely to distract, startle or interfere with users of the highway by doing any of the following: causing any or all of the motor vehicle's tires to lift from the road surface; causing the motor vehicle to lose traction while turning the motor vehicle; driving the motor vehicle in a manner to cause the motor vehicle to spin; driving the motor vehicle in a lane intended for oncoming traffic for longer than necessary to pass another vehicle; slowing or stopping the motor vehicle in a manner that prevents other motor vehicles from passing or in a manner that blocks or impedes other motor vehicles; without justification, driving as close as possible to another motor vehicle, a pedestrian, or a fixed object.

Excessive Speed

Research articles : 

I would have thought that being faced with a fine of either $368 or $483 and 3 penalty points would make any driver hesitate to exceed the speed limit by more than 40 or more than 60 km/h. Even so, more than 10,000 drivers were fined in this manner last year in BC. Worse still, I know that this is only the start of the problem as these were just the drivers that were caught and issued the appropriate fine by police.

Will the significantly increased penalties that took effect this week force drivers to rethink the risk that they pose to other road users?

Let's look at a driver who is caught for the first time under the new legislation traveling between 41 and 60 km/h over the speed limit. Police will issue a $368 ticket and call a tow truck. The vehicle will be impounded for 7 days at a cost of at least $210. ICBC will assign a driver risk premium of $320. If the driver has already accumulated penalty points, there will be a penalty point premium to pay as well.

Didn't learn the first time? Repeat offenders face increased vehicle impound periods of 30 days for the second offence and 60 days for subsequent offences.

Blowing a Warn

Research articles : 

It is after September 20, 2010 and you have just been tested for blood alcohol at the roadside and the screening device registered a "warn." The officer has served you with a notice of driving prohibition and has ordered a tow for your vehicle. How do you challenge this action?

Your first avenue of review is to immediately demand a second test. The officer will then arrange to test you again using a different approved screening device than the one that registered the warn. You are both bound by the outcome of this second test. If your sample is under 50, the prohibition will be terminated and the impound canceled. If it is still a warn, the action will proceed. However, if you were a borderline case and the second instrument indicates a "fail," you will now be subject to the Immediate Roadside Prohibition process.

At this point, there is no going back to the first test regardless of whether it favours you or not, so make your decision to demand the second test wisely.

Your next avenue of possibility will take place later. You will have to apply for a review by the Office of the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles. This will mean completing the appropriate forms and paying the necessary review fees. If you are successful, the Superintendent will revoke all fees associated with the prohibition.

Driving With a BAC Between 50 and 80 mg%

Research articles : 

In 1977 BC established the limit of 50 mg% as the provincial limit on Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) for drivers. When tested with an approved screening device drivers with a BAC over this limit received a 24 hour roadside prohibition. Relatively recently, this prohibition also included a 24 hour vehicle impoundment to go along with the prohibition.

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