B.C.’s tougher drinking and driving laws have saved lives: Study

WATCH ABOVE: A new study finds B.C.’s tougher law against impaired driving has led to fewer deaths and injuries. Brian Coxford reports.

VANCOUVER – Some good news today about B.C.’s tougher stance on drinking and driving and speeders.

A study by local doctors has found that due to tougher drinking driver and speeding laws, 84 people did not die in fatal crashes in 2014.

Three hundred hospital bed admissions did not happen and there were 2,500 fewer ambulance calls.

“We found some dramatic reductions,” said Dr. Jeffrey Brubacher, ER physician at Vancouver General Hospital and the lead study researcher. “We found overall a  21 per cent reduction in fatal crashes, that was of any cause, and probably the biggest component of that was from alcohol-related crashes. That was a 52 per cent reduction in crashes related to alcohol as a result of these new laws.”

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“So over the course of a year that would be, that would translate, for the total lives saved, to be 84 fatal crashes from this 21 per cent reduction. So just a dramatic number of crashes prevented.”

READ MORE: Family of man killed by drunk driver want a zero tolerance policy

B.C.’s brand of roadside justice has also saved taxpayers millions of dollars in health-related costs.

Professionals who contributed to the UBC-VGH study say the results should convince other provinces and U.S. states to adopt similar laws.

“Well the laws work and I think the thing going forward is to make sure that we keep them,” said Brubacher.

– With files from Brian Coxford

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