More 600 drivers were taken off Prince George area roads during 2012 because they had too much to drink or were on drugs.
Totals from previous years were not provided, but the number, released Tuesday, is down according to Prince George RCMP.
"People are being more responsible by choosing alternative rides home and we are finding more vehicles being left over night at various drinking establishments," said Sgt. Al Steinhauser, in charge of the detachment's traffic services unit.
Steinhauser credited the introduction in September 2010 of the immediate roadside prohibition for the decline.
In all, 603 drivers were issued suspensions or charged for impaired-related offences.
Of that total, 116 drivers were charged with driving while impaired for alcohol and three for drugs under the Criminal Code and 151 received immediate roadside suspensions for a blood-alcohol level of .05 to .08 under the Motor Vehicle Act.
Also, 96 24-hour suspensions were issued for drugs, as well as 97 three-day warnings, nine seven-day warnings and two 30-day warnings for alcohol, all under the MVA. Thirteen were charged with refusal to provide a sample under the Criminal Code and 10 were issued immediate suspensions for refusal under the MVA.
Year-end numbers for the area covered by the North District RCMP were not immediately available but, like Steinhauser, North District RCMP Staff Sgt. Gord Flewelling said they've improved dramatically since tougher laws came into effect.
He estimated that the number of fatalities on northern B.C. highways have declined by half.
"We have seen a remarkable change in behaviour," Flewelling said.
Police now have the power to immediately issue a driving prohibition for drivers found with a blood-alcohol level between .05 and .08. First-time offenders receive a three-day prohibition, while it's seven days for those caught a second time within five years and 30 days for a third offence within five years. Fees and fines begin at $600 and rise to $4,040.
Those with a blood-alcohol levels over .08 receive a criminal conviction and a penalty that begins with a one-year prohibition and a $1,000 fine.
Also as of September 2010, those caught traveling at 40 km/h greater than the speed limit will see their vehicles impounded for seven days, rising to 30 and 60 days for repeat offenders.
"If you're traveling from Vancouver and you're stopped in 100 Mile and lose your vehicle, well now the onus is for you to find your way home," Flewelling said.
However, people are still to die on the roads and Flewelling said driving while on drugs or alcohol and excessive speeding remain concerns.
"We are seeing improvements but we are not relaxing our efforts towards that," Flewelling said.
As well, those who are not wearing seatbelts remain over-represented in the death and injury columns. And there are upward trends in incidents involving texting and talking on cellphones while behind the wheel.