February 3, 2005 — Mothers Against Drunk Driving has completed a review of impaired driving fatality statistics of the past 20 years and has projected that a total of 25,279 lives have been saved by anti-impaired driving measures in that time frame. Borrowing a formula developed by a traffic safety expert in the United States, MADD Canada used Transport Canada traffic fatality statistics to determine the number of Canadians who have had their lives spared as an impaired driving fatality.
Each year there has been lives saved as a result of traffic safety initiatives. Year-over-year, through the 20 years, there has been a significant number of lives saved. In the 20 years that MADD Canada has been active in this country, a total of 25,279 lives have been saved from alcohol-related traffic fatalities.
“Over 25,000 Canadians have lived, thanks to the efforts to reduce impaired driving incidents,” says Karen Dunham, MADD Canada’s National President. “The review and these figures provide us with an important perspective on the progress that has been made since the founding of Mothers Against Drunk Driving and its predecessor organizations in our country.”
“We are very pleased to see that our volunteers’ efforts, along with those of other organizations, have contributed such a significant amount to reducing alcohol-related traffic deaths,” Mrs. Dunham says.
Dr. James Fell, an internationally-respected traffic safety expert and former Chief of Research and Evaluation for the United States National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), developed a method for estimating the number of lives saved in the United States. Given the similarities in Canada and the United States in drinking and driving patterns, collision rates and other relevant variables, MADD Canada has adopted Dr. Fell’s approach in estimating the number of lives saved for Canada since 1982. Using Dr. Fell’s formula, Transport Canada’s statistics for traffic fatalities, and the recognized standard of 60/40 ratio to calculate the number of alcohol-related fatalities, MADD Canada reviewed the years 1982 to 2003 (the most recent statistics published by Transport Canada).
The methodology behind this review is involved. It factors the yearly number of traffic fatalities, the deaths that involve alcohol, and differences to the base numbers, which are established at 1982 levels. Visit MADD Canada’s website to get the full methodology and background paper on the review.
“In looking at these numbers, we must still recognize that through the 20 years, 35,500 Canadians were killed in alcohol-related crashes,” cautions MADD Canada’s CEO Andrew Murie. “Impaired driving remains Canada’s number one criminal cause of death. While we are pleased with the progress that has been made, we are still concerned about current levels of drinking and driving and drugged and driving incidents. We want to continue to make a meaningful contribution to saving lives and preventing injuries in our society.”
For more information about MADD Canada, visit our web site at www.madd.ca