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Impaired and unprepared drivers keep RCMP busy



The Whistler RCMP have spent a busy week on the roads catching impaired drivers and sorting out accidents that resulted from the snowstorms that hit the valley bottom over the weekend.

The RCMP intercepted four impaired drivers between March 8 and March 15.

On March 8 at 1:29 a.m. an RCMP roadblock at Highway 99 and Alta Vista stopped a vehicle and detected an odor of liquor. A 31-year-old male driver from Whistler admitted to three drinks that evening and then failed a roadside test. He was brought in to RCMP headquarters to receive a breathalyzer and provided samples of .220 and .210, almost three times the legal limit of 0.08 (80 milligrams/per 100 milliliters of blood).

At 11:50 p.m. on March 8, a roadblock in the same area stopped a 37-year-old Squamish male driving south, who also failed his roadside test. He provided two samples of 0.170.

On March 9 at 11:48 p.m. on Alpine Way at Rainbow Drive the RCMP stopped a driver who had violated the terms of his 90-day administrative driving prohibition for an earlier impaired driving charge. He was originally charged on Jan. 10, and was caught two months into the probation.

On March 13 at 2:23 a.m. the RCMP received a call regarding an accident with an impaired driver on Cottonwood Street in Pemberton. They attended the scene and found a car with damage to the rear end. A witness at the scene identified the driver, a 19-year-old Whistler female who later provided samples of .110 and .100.

On March 13 at 11:14 p.m. the RCMP stopped a vehicle at Highway 99 and Nicklaus North and detected an odor of liquor. The 33-year-old male driver failed the roadside test and then provided samples of .120 and .110.

In B.C., drivers who exceed .08 are given an automatic 90-day administrative driving prohibition. If you are charged and convicted of any one of three impaired driving offenses the minimum sentence is a $1,000 fine and a one-year driving prohibition, although it can be higher if you have a previous impaired driving conviction.

That results in higher vehicle insurance premiumsand as of last year British Columbians are required to install an in-car breathalyzer at their own expense that they must blow into to start the vehicle.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) predicted last week that British Columbia would lower the blood-alcohol limit to 0.05 per cent, the lowest in Canada. B.C. Solicitor General Kash Heed has yet to confirm this, but said B.C. will have the most aggressive laws prohibiting drinking and driving in the country.

It's unknown what that might mean, but Ontario has brought in an automatic 90-day suspension for drivers who provide samples between 0.05 and 0.08, and Manitoba has zero tolerance for drinking and driving for all drivers with five or fewer years of experience.

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