Although some people may not know it, BC drivers who receive motor vehicle related Criminal Code of Canada convictions face mandatory driver’s licence suspensions under BC’s Indefinite Licence Suspension (ILS) program. With systems improvements implemented this summer, enforcement of these sanctions will gain a higher profile.
The ILS program is based on a “three strikes and you’re out” model, with drivers convicted of offences such as impaired driving or dangerous driving receiving escalating suspensions. A first conviction results in an automatic one-year driver’s licence suspension. A second conviction within 10 years leads to an automatic three-year suspension. A driver who receives a third conviction within 10 years of an earlier conviction receives an indefinite suspension. An indefinite licence suspension may not be ended for at least 10 years, and then only if the person successfully completes a remediation program to address the alcohol or other problems that led to their convictions. The BC government is currently developing remediation programs.
With the ILS legislation nearing its third anniversary, just over 11,000 ILS program suspensions have already been issued, more than 9,000 of them for one year, 1,700 for three years and close to 500 for an indefinite period.
This summer, BC’s driver licensing systems are being updated to make ILS even more effective. With the improvements, police computer systems will automatically provide up-to-date information on the status of drivers whose licences have been suspended. This will make it easier for police to enforce ILS program suspensions and to make sure suspended drivers stay off the road. Over time, this is expected to reduce the number of BC families affected by the tragedy of needless death and injury.
This article was published in the August 2000 issue of BarTalk. © 2000 The Canadian Bar Association. All rights reserved.