Government ready to seize excessive speeders’ vehicles

As drivers prepare to hit the road for the last long weekend of the summer, the BC government urges them to use caution even as it warns the worst speeders that, starting Sept. 20, new impoundment rules come into effect for those travelling 40 km or more over the posted speed limit.

“Excessive speed is often a death sentence for everyone involved – the driver, their passengers and other innocent road-users,” Solicitor General Mike de Jong said in a statement. “We want to save lives by going after the kind of driver who drives significantly and dangerously over the posted speed limit, and then get them off the road. By doing so, we hope to make our streets and highways safer for everyone.”

About 10,000 tickets a year are issued by police for excessive speeding. As of Sept. 20, a charge of excessive speeding will trigger a mandatory seven-day impoundment for a first offence, a 30-day impoundment for a second, and 60 days for subsequent excessive speeding offences within two years.

Impoundment is in addition to existing penalties, which include:

  1. A fine of $368 to $483, depending on how excessive the speed;
  2. Three penalty points on a driver’s licence; and
  3. An ICBC driver-risk premium of $320 per year for three years, over and above Autoplan insurance premiums.

Police say speed is the No. 1 contributing factor to fatalities in car accidents and “the faster you go, the less likely you’ll walk away from a crash.”

Street racers are also affected by the new rules. While street racing differs from excessive speeding because it involves two or more vehicles trying to outdistance each other, under the new impoundment provisions, both are subject to minimum seven-day impoundments.

Previously, street racing had a minimum impoundment period of 48 hours. Additionally, the Motor Vehicle Act now makes careless acts like excessive tailgating, and reckless driving actions like wheelies and doughnuts – subject to a seven-day impoundment.

The strengthened sanctions for excessive speeding are part of changes to the Motor Vehicle Act that include new provisions for impaired driving.

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