Tourists Beware

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, speed limits are in kilometers. If not otherwise posted, the speed limit within a municipality is 50km/h and outside, is 80km/h. The following are approximate conversions for speed limits:

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’re caught doing 40 km (25 mph) over the limit, the fine is $368 and your vehicle impounded for 7 days. This can be expensive, indeed, considering the travel, towing, and storage charges. Add a few thousand dollars onto your holiday expenses.

A second offence (within 2 years) brings a heftier fine and your car impounded for 30 days.

A third offence (again within 2 years) increases the fine even more 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 an Immediate Roadside Prohibition (IRP).

An IRP comes with a $200 fine, seizure of your license and your car is impounded for 3 days. Then there are the towing and storage charges.

Second offences carry a fine of $300, in addition to your license and vehicle being seized for 7 days.

You’re looking at a $400 fine for your third offence, license and car seized for 30 days, mandatory Responsible Driver Program course, and enrollment in an ignition interlock program. Punitive indeed.

British Columbia has a well-deserved reputation as a world-class destination. Have a safe, memorable and stress free vacation. Just remember to stay within the speed limits and drive sober. Welcome to B.C.



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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.