Vancouverites and all across BC, people have been out enjoying the beautiful, warm, summer weather. We are in the middle of the vacation season when weddings, family BBQ’s, camping and music festivals are in full swing. It is important to plan ahead to avoid impaired driving. With the strict drinking and driving laws in BC, it is not hard to be over the limit. Paul Warnett, Partner tells us of a very personal experience with car accident crashes, “I lost my mother in 2005 due to the actions of a distracted driver.”It is devastating to lose a loved one to such a senseless act. In our firm, we see the aftermath of these accidents, and we want to educate people on the consequences, but more importantly, help them make good decisions when it comes to driving unsafely.
Startling statistics on drinking and driving
BC has strict rules regarding drinking and driving, but according to ICBC, impairment is one of the top three contributing factors in fatal car crashes.
- In a year approximately 86 people die in motor vehicle crashes involving impaired driving.
- Most impaired-related crashes (59 per cent) occur on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday.
- 43% per cent of crashes take place between 9 p.m. and 3 a.m.
Designated drivers should have 0% alcohol
If you’ve agreed to be the designated driver for family or friends, ensure you don’t indulge in any alcohol. BC has the toughest drinking and driving laws in Canada. If you drink and drive, you can have your car impounded, in addition to racking up penalty points and fines up to $4000. In addition, if you get into an accident, you may face criminal charges and your insurance will probably not cover the accident and medical costs. Take responsibility to promote safe driving and take your turn to be a designated driver.
Alternatives to getting home safely
Every community has different resources to use when it comes to getting a safe ride home after a fun event that includes alcohol. Use these tips as a handy guide to plan ahead if you are heading to the beach, a wedding, a summer party or a music festival:
- Check out the local transit options – how late does public transit run?
- Car share – if you are looking to save some money, hop in your car2go, EVO or other car share to get to the party, but plan to take a taxi home.
- Provide transportation if you are an event coordinator – check in advance if the event or hosts has a transfer bus or car, or if they have set up a service to use at the end of the event.
- Designated driving services – many communities now operate a service where they will get you and your car home safely.
- Pre-arrange a ride – call upon a parent, grandparent or other family friend to pick you up at a designated time.
- Plan to stay at a hotel or a friends place. If the event you are attending is farther from home, plan to stay overnight closer to the event.
- Taxi vouchers – buy a few taxi vouchers and slip them in your pocket before you head out the door. That way if you run out of cash, you won’t be tempted to drink and drive.
When alcohol is involved it is best to have plan A & B organized before you have drank too much. Even walking or biking home impaired is not a safe idea. Alcohol affects your ability regarding judgement, reaction time, coordination and visual function. It is better to spend $30 on a cab-ride then to be injured in a car accident or to cause a serious injury or fatality or be a fatality. Keep the fun in the party and get home safe.
Designated driving resources