CAA and TIRF release study on the impact of short-term licence suspensions in Saskatchewan

Study shows more research needed on short-term suspensions to verify effectiveness

Ottawa, ON (April 2, 2007) – The Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) and the Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF) today released a report on the impact of short-term licence suspensions (STS) at the roadside for drinking drivers.

STS is a provincial sanction that has been used in Canada for the last 20 years as a means of immediately removing drivers with a low BAC (blood alcohol content) from the road for a period of 12 to 24 hours. The study assessed the effectiveness of STS in the province of Saskatchewan for BAC levels between 0.04 and 0.08 per cent.

“The research shows that driver fatalities with BACs at 0.08 per cent or less decreased in the years following the introduction of the new Saskatchewan law. However the numbers are very small, making it difficult to determine whether or not the changes were caused by the law,” said Deanna Singhal, a co-author of the report. “We definitely need more research on this topic to determine if short-term suspensions at the roadside have a statistically significant impact on drinking and driving behaviours.”

The study found that police issue short-term suspensions about as often as they lay Criminal Code charges, thereby removing twice as many drinking drivers from the road than would occur if only Criminal Code charges were available. The findings from the report also demonstrate that more information is required to determine the long-term impact of STS in Canadian provinces.

“Short-term suspensions and Criminal Code sanctions are complementary measures implemented by our federal and provincial governments that jointly fight impaired driving,” said Maureen Murray from CAA Saskatchewan. “Under the short-term suspension law, police officers issue approximately the same number of short-term suspensions as Criminal Code impaired driving charges, allowing them to remove larger numbers of drinking drivers from the road.”

The study was commissioned by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety (AAA FTS) and is available online at www.caa.ca and at www.trafficinjuryresearch.com.

About the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA)

CAA is a federation of 9 automobile clubs serving over 5 million members through 148 offices across Canada. CAA provides a wide range of member services and works to improve travelling and motoring conditions at home and around the world.

About the Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF)

Established in 1964, TIRF’s mission is to reduce traffic-related deaths and injuries. As a national, independent, charitable road safety institute, TIRF designs, promotes, and implements effective programs and policies, based on sound research. TIRF is a registered charity and depends on grants, contracts, and donations to provide services for the public. www.trafficinjuryresearch.com

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