Province looking at problem drivers

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Changes are being discussed at the provincial government level on how to deal with risky or problem drivers.

However, in cases like that of a man in Kamloops who has violated several driving prohibitions — one of which allegedly is connected to him hitting and killing a woman in a downtown crosswalk in November — it can be difficult to find a remedy that will work, said Stephen Martin, the province’s superintendent of motor vehicles.

Martin said drivers who ignore prohibitions are considered high risk.

“But, sometimes, short of incarceration, there’s little we can do,” he said.

“They go into the criminal system and a judge would have to look at it.”

Police can request Martin review the situation to determine if he should use provincial powers granted to his office to intervene.

The superintendent can prohibit people from driving for a variety of reasons, including not paying damages from an accident, having a licence suspended in another province or in the U.S. and if he considers it to be in the public interest.

Martin could not say if he has been asked to review the Kamloops driver who police say has violated several prohibitions.

The 62-year-old is being investigated in relation to an accident on Nov. 21, when a man driving a pickup truck struck 66-year-old Valerie Brook as she was crossing Victoria Street at Sixth Avenue.

Kamloops RCMP allege it is the same driver.

On Wednesday, Jan. 9, police, tipped off the man was again driving, staked out a vehicle at the Lake City Casino at Victoria Street and Sixth Avenue and, through a traffic stop, charged the same man with driving while prohibited.

He was driving a vehicle loaned to him.

Martin said it is challenging to deal with such situations, particularly when others provide vehicles to prohibited drivers.

The province’s driver-improvement program, created to identify and address high-risk drivers, “is a narrow program that just looks at a two-year driving record,” Martin said, “and many high-risk clients can work their way through the system.

“For example, if someone has been in jail for two years, they come out and they have a really great driving record.”

Preliminary discussions have begun through his office to look at education and counselling components that could be addressed to deal with risky drivers.

A similar set of guidelines works with impaired drivers, Martin said.

“We see a lot of them change their behaviours.”

Work on the adaptations is at the early stage, Martin added.



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