Ontario and British Columbia are leading in efforts to reduce impaired driving, while Saskatchewan, New Brunswick and the Territories need to make major improvements, according to MADD Canada’s 2012 Provincial and Territorial Legislative Review.
The review ranks each Canadian jurisdiction based on legislation and crash data.
“We continue to assess the provincial and territorial impaired driving laws,” said MADD Canada Chief Executive Officer Andrew Murie. “However, the report provides additional insights into the progress that each jurisdiction has made by providing both current and long-term data on total and impairment-related crash deaths.”
For example, MADD Canada says in 2009, impairment-related crash deaths per 100,000 ranged from a low of 2.03 in Ontario to a high of 8.44 in Saskatchewan.
The impairment-related crash death rate per 100,000 in Canada in 2009 was:
|Prince Edward Island||5.46|
The territories, which have generally had poor impaired driving records, were not included in this data set because of the small numbers involved, said MADD Canada, pointing out as well that the Québec data “must be viewed with considerable caution because of problems with underreporting of alcohol-related crash deaths.”
MADD Canada said it is pleased with: British Columbia’s strong.05% BAC administrative licence suspension and vehicle impoundment program; Ontario and Quebec’s .00% BAC limits for drivers under 22; and Newfoundland and Labrador’s comprehensive .05% BAC administrative licence suspension program and its parallel program for drug-impaired drivers.
MADD Canada is also optimistic about pending legislation in Alberta and Nova Scotia. For example, Alberta’s .05% BAC amendments, when implemented, will significantly reduce impaired driving deaths and injuries in the province, which has traditionally been high by national standards.
In contrast, Saskatchewan, Nunavut, the Northwest Territories and the Yukon, which have had poor impaired driving records, have not enacted any significant initiatives in the past three years.
While some provinces are doing better than others, and while impaired driving deaths and injuries fell slightly in 2009, no one should be satisfied with the current levels.
“Canada’s impaired driving record is poor by international standards,” said the Review’s lead author, Professor Robert Solomon, Faculty of Law, University of Western Ontario. “For example, Canada’s per capita rate of alcohol-related crash deaths in 2008 was five times that of Germany, even though its alcohol consumption rate was 20% higher than Canada’s. There is no reason why Canada should continue to have such a poor impaired driving record when it is clear that significant progress can be made.”
The full report can be read online. (PDF)