Immediate Roadside Prohibition

I was excited about the possibility of dealing a significant punishment to impaired drivers

I’ve performed many duties in my policing career, investigator, collision analyst, breath testing technician and screening device operator/calibrator/instructor. I’ve seen first hand the damage that impaired drivers do to themselves and others on our highways. The duty I liked the least was notifying next of kin following a fatal collision.

When I learned about B.C.’s Immediate Roadside Prohibition (IRP) program I was excited about the possibility of dealing a significant punishment to impaired drivers before they had a chance to leave the scene of the crime. Better still, they could not simply hide behind a lawyer, a collection of over-complicated case law and a legal system that was not prepared to deal with them expeditiously. I’ve seen the court refuse to accept a guilty plea because the accused had not consulted with legal counsel.

It was not a surprise for me when the courts were used by the people who make their living selling liquor to disrupt the use of the IRP to protect the rest of us from those who consume that liquor and then drive. Some news stories that I have read since then contain statements attributed to lawyers that do not make sense based on my experience within the system. These stories called into question the accuracy of the screening devices and suggested that innocents have been punished.

I hope that the coming amendments to the IRP adjudication process are able to satisfy the courts for fairness but is left in the hands of the Office of the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles. We’ve already spent too long waiting for the new implementation.

For more information on this topic, visit www.drivesmartbc.ca. Questions or comments are welcome by e-mail to comments@drivesmartbc.ca. Tim Schewe is a retired RCMP constable with many years of traffic law enforcement experience. His column appears Friday.