Whether you are in B.C. or Alberta, driving while impaired by alcohol is against the law. Period. The levels at which you are charged by police can vary, as do other consequences, including auto insurance increases after a DUI.
Even the smallest amount of alcohol in your system when you are pulled over can result in life changing events. At the very least, your license will be suspended, your car will be impounded for a minimum of three days and you may be required, at your expense, to take courses to learn safer driving skills. Fines may also be imposed.
How much is too much?
If a breathalyzer shows your BAC (blood alcohol content) to be over .08, you have committed a criminal offense. You will go to court to face an impaired driving charge and if convicted, you will be required have an ignition interlock device installed, at a significant expense. You must also take a mandatory course with stringent attendance rules. In some cases, you could also face jail time.
B.C. drivers can find information about alcohol related charges by clicking here. Alberta drivers can see more details at KnowtheLimits.ca
Of course, this DUI infraction will impact your insurance rates, at any level of impaired driving charge. This rate increase can also apply if you are charged with being impaired by drugs.
Contact one of our brokers to find out more about how these charges may affect you.
Why do auto insurance rates increase?
After being charged with drinking and driving, the risk factor for the driver increases in the eye of the insurer. While people who show a BAC of .05 to .08 are not criminally charged, they will still face administrative penalties.
Insurance companies, whether they are private or government regulated such as ICBC, don’t like risk. In some cases, the cost of annual insurance can increase by thousands of dollars for drivers who choose alcohol over safe driving.
In a Globe & Mail article on June 10, 2014, insurer Aviva was quoted on why they increase rates for those charged with driving offenses. “In our view, an impaired driver is more likely to be a repeat offender and has an increased risk of causing a serious accident,” says Glenn Cooper, spokesman for Aviva. “Those convicted of impaired driving, even if not involved in an accident, have made an unsafe choice putting many others at risk.”
A matter of record
Every year, statistics show that drinking and driving results in injury or death, a totally preventable situation.
From the 2010 records, the number of alcohol-related deaths in B.C. was 121, and in Alberta the number is higher at 139. The number of drivers involved in serious injury with alcohol-related crashes was 494 in B.C. and 641 in Alberta.
Why tougher penalties?
People who choose to drink and drive put themselves, their passengers and others on the road in danger. If an accident occurs, insurance companies are required to make payments on claims, but they will come back to the person who was drinking and caused the accident for restitution.
Most Canadian insurance companies won’t insure drivers convicted of impaired driving for three years after the conviction. When drivers who have had multiple convictions or charges try to get insurance, they may have to go through a facility insurance broker – a last resort source – and pay very high coverage rates.
For high risk drivers, call us in BC at 1-800-899-3093 or in Alberta at 1-888-259-2747 or request a quote today.