A concern for public safety

Authority Office of the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles, Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General
Details

When a driver is found to be under the influence of alcohol in B.C. they can face swift and significant consequences. In addition to having their license immediately suspended and their vehicle impounded, drivers may be required to participate in remedial programs. For some, even after the return of their license, they may be required to participate in a program that requires installation of a device on their vehicle that will not allow them to drive if they are under the influence of alcohol. This program is called the Ignition Interlock Program. Paul had made poor choices while he was going through a difficult period in his life and had been pulled over for driving under the influence of alcohol twice within a fiveyear period. Paul had his license suspended both times and was required to attend the RoadSafety BC’s Responsible Driver Program, which educates offenders on the dangers of drinking and driving and strives to reduce their chances of offending again.

On completion of the course, Paul understood that he would get his license back without having to take part in the Ignition Interlock Program. Paul was therefore surprised to learn that he would also have to participate in that lengthy and costly program in order to get his license back. Paul’s appeal of the decision to refer him to the Ignition Interlock Program was unsuccessful. He was unsatisfied with RoadSafety BC’s reasons and believed that he was being unfairly singled out so Paul came to us. Paul provided us with copies of RoadSafety BC’s decisions. He also provided us with a copy of a page from a Responsible Driver Program workbook explaining that drivers who registered between .05% and .08% blood alcohol content at the time of an offence would not be required to participate in the Ignition Interlock Program if they offended less than three times in a five-year period. Based on the apparent discrepancy between what Paul had been told would happen and what did happen, we investigated Paul’s complaint. RoadSafety BC confirmed with us that Paul had in fact been correctly informed through the Responsible Driving Program that offenders who registered between .05% and .08% blood alcohol content with less than three incidents in a five-year period would not be subject to the Ignition Interlock Program.

What Paul had not explained to us, however, and which RoadSafety provided evidence to show, was that on his second offence Paul had registered a blood-alcohol content above .08%. RoadSafety BC’s policy in this scenario is to refer the offender to the Ignition Interlock Program out of a concern for public safety. RoadSafety BC had correctly informed Paul about its policy regarding referring offenders to the Ignition Interlock Program and it had provided Paul with an adequate explanation for why his offences warranted the referral to the Ignition Interlock Program. We concluded that RoadSafety BC acted fairly and Paul’s complaint was not substantiated. 

Category Driving and Transportation
Type Case Summary
Fiscal Year 2017