Impaired Driving – 1 in 4 Canadians Admit Doing It in Last Year

Update: see previous posts – December 23, 2010 – Two Motorists Arrested for Driving the same Vehicle under the Influence of Alcohol, December 20, 2010 – Police Officer Charged with Impaired Driving & Over 80 mg Operation, December 1, 2010 Huge Fine Increases begin Today, November 8, 2010 BC’s Solictor General May Water Down Drinking & Driving Laws in Spring, November 8, 2010 Ontario expands Vehicle Impoundment and Increases Penalties – HTA (Dec.1/10), November 2, 2010 MADD – Random Breathalyzer Tests – all drivers’ in Canada, anywhere/anytime, October 29, 2010 Impaired Driver Prohibited from Driving for 10 Years after Fourth (4th) Conviction, July 28, 2010 Drinking and Driving Laws in British Columbia, July 26, 2010 Novice/Young Driver’s in Ontario Can No Longer Drink & Drive (Aug.1/10), February 14, 2010 Notorious Nova Scotia Drunk Driver Receives 8 1/2 Year Prison Sentence, September 10, 2009 Impaired Driver Receives Life Sentence after 19th Impaired Driving Conviction, September 9, 2009 Ottawa e-Bike (Electric Bike) Rider charged twice for Impaired Driving in August, 2009, May 1, 2009 Drinking and Driving Laws Implemented in Ontario on May 1, 2009 (Bill 203), March 3, 2009 Impaired Driving: House of Commons Justice Committee Considering Changes to Bill C-2: Tackling Violent Crime Act (Amendment to the Canada’s Criminal Code)

See source, CAA survey and news release

One in Four Canadians Admit to Driving Intoxicated in Last Year

Nearly one quarter – 24 per cent – of Canadians have gotten behind the wheel in the last year believing they were above or near the legal limit for impaired driving, a poll for the Canadian Automobile Association has found.

The result comes despite another finding of the national poll, that a whopping 98 per cent of respondents believe drinking and driving is unacceptable.

“People know they shouldn’t drink and drive, but an alarming number of us still do,” said Jeff Walker, CAA vice president and chief strategy officer. “The temptation is highest at this time of year, but Canadians need to listen to their conscience and not drink and drive.”

A designated driver, calling a taxi or using public transit are all ways to avoid a potentially deadly accident due to drinking and driving, Walker added.

Among the findings of the poll of 2,000 Canadians, which is considered accurate to within 2.2 percentage points, 19 times out of 20:

  • Opinion is virtually unanimous that drinking and driving is unacceptable.  Nationally, fully 98% of respondents expressed this view, while 92% said it was completely unacceptable.    Virtually no one (1%) felt that drinking and driving is acceptable.  This opinion is shared from coast to coast with no less than 96% in any region calling drinking and driving unacceptable.
  • Despite this strong opposition to drinking and driving, nearly one in four Canadians admits that in the last year, they drove when their blood alcohol level was above or close to the legal limit.  Nationally, 24% of respondents admit to driving under these circumstances at least once. Most (22%) say they had done so only once (9%) or rarely (13%). Just 2% said they had driven under these conditions fairly often. Residents of Quebec, those under the age of 35, and men were most likely to say they had driven when they thought their blood alcohol level was near or above the legal limit.
  • About the same number say they have driven after having a drink.  Nationally, 28% said this, with 12% saying they had done so one or two times, 8% saying they had done so 3 to 5 times, and 8% saying they had done so six or more times.  Women were more likely than men to say they had not had a drink before driving in the last year, while residents west of Ontario were most likely to say they had, compared to their eastern counterparts.
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One thoughtful comment

  1. 98% of people responding that drink-driving is unacceptable is a colossal win for the organizations against it. That is fairly unheard of in public education campaigns. The article seems to be saying that the campaign has been unsuccessful, but I think otherwise.

    Of course, the limit is now set as low as alcohol begins to affect the body. That’s very low. However, it is also higher than a person’s BAC who has had even a few drinks. A person who has been drinking can’t tell what their BAC is.

    For that reason, I have a breathalyzer. Agreeing with the survey, I also drink and drive, as is my legal right so long as my BAC is below the legal limit. It uses the same technology as the ones the police use. It is annoyingly inaccurate, taking three or four tries before a pattern emerges, but at least now I can be more informed; I’ll have a better idea if I’m about to break the law. Other people in the survey would just be guessing until the police tell them yes or no, and if 98% of people now believe drinking before driving is always unacceptable, the guess would always be “yes, illegal”, leading to that 24% statistic above.

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