BRITISH COLUMBIA

B.C. Driving Laws Attacked As Drivers Left Stranded

08/19/2013 05:18 EDT | Updated 08/19/2013 05:19 EDT
AP
An 85 mph speed limit sign is placed on the 41-mile-long toll road in Austin, near the increasingly crowded Interstate between Austin and San Antonio, Texas on Thursday, Sept. 6, 2012. While some drivers will want to test their horsepower and radar detectors, others are asking if safety is taking a backseat to pure speed. (AP Photo/Statesman.com, Ricardo B. Brazziell) MAGS OUT; NO SALES; INTERNET AND TV MUST CREDIT PHOTOGRAPHER AND STATESMAN.COM

Just days after the B.C. Supreme Court ruled a government report on breathalyzers inadmissible, the province's strict driving laws were being attacked as heavy-handed and unfair by drivers left stranded on the roadside.

The Vancouver Sun reports that one in five drivers who challenged a roadside ban in the year since the toughened up drunk driving laws were introduced in 2010 had their judgment overturned. But it isn't just those accused of impaired driving who are complaining about the system.

Andrew Scott told The Province newspaper that his family, including two young children, were left without transportation in an area with no cellphone reception after he was ticketed for speeding on Highway 3 near Manning Park. The family was on vacation and had to wait two hours for a ride after their car was impounded for a week.

Scott says he had accelerated to pass another vehicle and was just about to pull back into the slower lane when he was stopped and fined $360 for doing 141 km/hr in and 80 km/hr zone. Another motorist told the paper that he, too, was fined and had his motorcycle impounded after speeding up to pass a camper van.

The law, which gives police power to impose on-the-spot fines and impound vehicles isn't just upsetting B.C. drivers. Tourists are finding themselves on the sharp end, too.

According to the Ottawa Sun, 503 Albertan drivers had their cars impounded in B.C. by the end of July compared to the 489 who had their cars taken away in the whole of 2012. The paper calls the seizure system "dubious" and charges that giving the police the power to impound vehicles on the spot, effectively puts those who "supposedly uphold the law in B.C. now above the law."

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