MADD Canada Releases Its Latest Review of Provincial/Territorial Impaired Driving Laws

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Oakville – April 23, 2012 – 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.

MADD Canada’s previous comprehensive reviews, published under the title Rating the Provinces and Territories, ranked each jurisdiction based on its legislation. The new report continues to provide a comprehensive jurisdiction-by-jurisdiction analysis of the legislation, but does not include a ranking system. For the first time, the report includes national, provincial and territorial 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, 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 rates in the remaining provinces were: 2.15 in Quebec*, 2.82 in Newfoundland, 3.60 in British Columbia, 4.57 in Nova Scotia, 4.86 in Manitoba, 5.46 in Prince Edward Island, 5.58 in New Brunswick, and 5.70 in Alberta. Canada’s overall average was 3.18. The territories, which have generally had poor impaired driving records, were not included in this data set because of the small numbers involved. (*The Qu�bec data must be viewed with considerable caution because of problems with underreporting of alcohol-related crash deaths.)

The full Review is available on MADD Canada’s website at www.madd.ca.
(R. Solomon, J. Cardy, I. Noble and R. Wulkan, The 2012 Provincial and Territorial Legislative Review (Oakville: MADD Canada, 2012))

The Review provides a realistic and effective blueprint for reducing impaired driving. The 2012 legislative priorities include: strengthening measures to safeguard new and young drivers; enhancing and expanding the current short-term administrative licence suspension legislation; and encouraging greater use of immediate roadside administrative vehicle impoundments and alcohol interlocks.

MADD Canada 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 2012 Provincial and Territorial Legislative Review will provide the basis for MADD Canada’s ongoing discussions with provincial and territorial governments on how they can strengthen their laws and significantly reduce impaired driving deaths and injuries.

Notes:

  • The Review includes national, provincial and territorial statistics on total and impairment-related crash deaths from 2000 to 2009. Thus, the impact of any legislation enacted after 2009 is not reflected in the statistics. Although 2009 is the latest year for which comprehensive data is available, individual jurisdictions may have more recent data.
  • The Review details legislation as of March 31, 2012. As a result, Qu�bec’s .00% BAC limit for young drivers, which came into effect on April 15, 2012, is listed as pending in the report.
  • The Review examines legislative measures only and does not incorporate public awareness, education or other initiatives to reduce impaired driving.

About MADD Canada

MADD Canada (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) is a national, charitable organization that is committed to stopping impaired driving and supporting the victims of this violent crime. With volunteer-driven groups in more than 100 communities across Canada, MADD Canada aims to offer support services to victims, heighten awareness of the dangers of impaired driving and save lives and prevent injuries on our roads. For more information, visit www.madd.ca.