British Columbia is world-renowned for its breathtaking beauty, attracting countless tourists every year arriving with their cars, trucks, caravans, campers, motor homes, RVs, and motorcycles. And, every year, a percentage of these tourists end up learning about BC’s traffic laws the hard way. If you are coming to BC, keep the following in mind:
Speed Over 40
For international visitors, keep in mind speed limits are in kilometers per hour. Speeding in BC is enforced by police who issue violation tickets to drivers travelling faster than the posted speed limit. If not otherwise posted, the speed limit inside a municipality is 50km/h and outside it is 80km/h. The following are approximate conversions for speed limits you are likely to encounter:
30 km/h = 20 mph
50 km/h = 30 mph
80 km/h = 50 mph
100 km/h = 60 mph
110 km/h = 70 mph
120 km/h = 75 mph
If you are pulled over while driving 40 km (25 mph) over the speed limit, you will be immediately fined $368 and your vehicle impounded for seven days. The resulting travel, towing, and storage charges, which can amount to thousands of dollars, are now part of your holiday expenses.
A second offence (within a 2 year period) and you are fined and your car is impounded for 30 days.
A third offence (within a 2 year period) and you are fined and your car is impounded for 60 days.
Ironically, this law gives the police, purportedly there to serve and protect, the power to put countless drivers and innocent passengers, including children, at great risk of harm by leaving them stranded on the side of a busy highway.
Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) over .05
The Criminal Code of Canada makes it a criminal offence to operate a motor vehicle with a BAC of .08 or greater. If you are in BC however, driving with a BAC between .05 and .08, while not a criminal offence, still results in a consequence in the form of an Immediate Roadside Prohibition (IRP).
If you are issued an IRP, your license is seized and your car is impounded for 3 days. You are of course, responsible for towing and storage charges and will have to pay an additional $200 fine.
If you are caught a second time, your license and car are taken for 7 days and the fine is $300.
A third offence can result in your license and car being taken for 30 days, a fine of $400, a mandatory Responsible Driver Program course, and enrollment in an ignition interlock program.
British Columbia has a well-deserved reputation as a world-class holiday destination. Keep the foregoing in mind to help make your vacation here safe, memorable, and trouble-free.
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Einfeld Law is a highly knowledgeable and experienced BC personal injury law firm specializing in motor vehicle accidents, motorcycle accidents, and other negligence claims involving bodily injury. We have successfully litigated many ICBC and other insurance claims, including out of province, wrongful death, brain injury, spinal cord injury, whiplash, soft tissue injury, and all other bodily injury claims. We have collected millions of dollars on behalf of our clients. We never act for ICBC or other insurance companies.