December is the holiday season, and as such it is a month full of celebrations which may involve drinking alcohol. People may want to indulge in beers, liquors, and spirits, but in planning for a great night out, the Herald is reminding you to consider safe transportation. Do not drink and drive, otherwise you will be at risk for physical, legal, and financial consequences.

According to the ICBC website, 64 people die, on average from intoxicated driving incidents. This estimate attributes a portion of these crashes during the month of December, while a third of it is estimated to happen during the summertime. 

“No matter what time of year, there are many options to get home safely if you’ve had a drink or two. So, whether it’s after work or play, make the smart choice. Remember, the best time to decide how to get home responsibly is before you start drinking,“ stated ICBC on their website. 

Counter attack road checks are implemented in the summer and winter seasons by police across the province to identify any driver that shouldn’t be behind the wheel. ICBC states that B.C. has one of the toughest drinking and driving laws in the country. Aside from the immediate potential physical harm drunk driving may cause, the monetary repercussions are equally as bad. 

“Don’t drive,” said Adam Etchart, senior insurance agent for Hub International Insurance. “Find alternate transportation because aside from endangering lives, you could endanger your employment, end up with a criminal record, and it can cost a lot of money as well.”

ICBC notes the following potential penalties a driver may face when caught driving under the influence of alcohol. 

  • Driving suspensions from 24 hours to 90 days
  • Vehicle impoundment
  • Fines, from $600 and up to $4,060
  • Jail time
  • Mandatory rehabilitation
  • Installation of ignition interlock in your vehicle

“The vehicle impounds really can vary depending on what the offense is and what the RCMP gives to people,” Etchart explained. “It could range from a seven to 30 days of impoundment and the impound fees vary as well.” 

Etchart also noted that there is a $31 card fee to get another driver’s license, and, if required, the driver may need to take the responsible drivers course, which amounts to approximately $1000 with tax.  

“Drivers license reinstatement costs $250, and there’s all sorts of different other fees there,” he added. “There may also be tickets to pay, and penalty points to pay which depends on the person’s driving record prior to the incident. Fees depend on the severity of the case and what the court decides the penalties should be.”

ICBC states on their website that a Driver Risk Premium may be imposed.

“If you crash while driving impaired, you’re likely in breach of your insurance policy,” ICBC said on their website. “That means you could be personally responsible for 100 per cent of the costs if you damage someone else’s property or injure them.”

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