OTTAWA, Dec. 13, 2012 /CNW/ - A new poll by the Traffic Injury Research
Foundation (TIRF) reveals that fewer Canadian drivers are getting
behind the wheel after drinking. Researchers found that both the
percentage of drinking drivers who drove after drinking any amount of
alcohol and of drinking drivers who drove when they thought they were
over the legal limit dropped in 2012 compared to previous years. The
public opinion poll conducted in October 2012 investigated Canadians'
behaviours and actions in relation to drinking and driving as well as
trends in their behaviours.
In a new Road Safety Monitor (RSM) report by TIRF, researchers found that the percentage of those
who drove after drinking any amount of alcohol decreased from 19.2% in
2011 to 17.3% in 2012. Researchers also found a significant decrease in
the percentage of Canadian drivers who admitted to driving when they
thought they were over the legal limit in the past twelve months from
5.4% in 2011 to 3.6% in 2012. The drop in 2012 is even larger when
compared with the 9.1% reported in 1998. TIRF first reported a
significant drop in the number of drivers who admitted to driving when
they thought they were over the legal limit in 2008. Reasons explaining
the additional decrease in 2012 are not immediately apparent but
researchers say this finding is encouraging.
"Socio-economic factors such as employment rates, increasing gas prices
and reduced alcohol consumption are always noted as possible
contributing factors when looking at impaired driving rates, "explains
Kyla Marcoux, TIRF research associate. "However, increases in the
availability and the scope of educational programming and awareness
campaigns as well changes to federal and jurisdictional impaired
driving laws in recent years may be contributing factors as well and
further monitoring will be needed to quantify the effects."
In spite of these declines, researchers want to emphasize that further
progress can be made. The study found that the decline seen among the
percentage of drivers who admitted to driving after drinking any
alcohol in 2012 is still well above the low of 14.7% that was reported
in 2005. This may suggest that a small number of drivers continue to be
unaware of the risks that lower levels of alcohol can pose.
Marcoux explains that "Even in small quantities, alcohol can have a
detrimental effect on one's driving ability. Fatigue, lack of food and
mixing drugs, prescription or illicit with alcohol can also magnify the
effects of alcohol on your system."
With the holiday season upon us, TIRF, along with poll sponsors, Brewers
Association of Canada, Toyota Canada Foundation, and Aviva Canada,
remind Canadians to plan ahead when celebrating out with friends or at
home with loved ones. According to survey results, more than a third of
respondents who drove when thought they were over the legal limit
reported doing most of their drinking at the home of a friend or
relative. Another third of respondents reported that they had been
drinking at a bar or restaurant.
"Drinking drivers clearly continue to be a great concern for Canadians,
as over 81% of respondents rated the issue as a very or extremely
serious problem," notes Marcoux. "And Canadians can be part of the
solution. If you're hosting a get together this holiday season,
encourage alternatives such as public transit, taxis or designated
drive programs or offer to have them stay the night. By speaking up,
you're helping to reinforce that driving after drinking isn't the
Studies have revealed a strong relationship between blood alcohol
concentration (BAC) and crash risk; crash risk begins to increase
considerably at a BAC of 0.04%-0.05% (the legal limit being 0.08%) and
increases exponentially once BACs reach 0.10% or greater.
In a 2011 poll, an overwhelming percentage of young drivers surveyed
(86%) agreed or strongly agreed to not being able to drive safely after
consuming alcohol. This percentage of young drivers was also
significantly higher than drivers aged 25 and older, of which only 77%
agreed to not being able to drive safely after drinking. (The Road
Safety Monitor 2011: Youth Drinking and Driving)
Nothing can speed up the elimination of alcohol from your body. It is
estimated when drinking, a typical male eliminates about two-thirds of
a drink per hour; a typical female burns up about one-half a drink in
that hour. Drinking coffee, exercise, deep breathing, or a cold shower
will not speed up the elimination process. Only time can make you sober
About the poll. These results are based on the RSM, an annual public opinion poll
developed and conducted by TIRF. A total of 903 Canadians completed the
poll in October of 2012. Results can be considered accurate within plus
or minus 3.3%, 19 times out of 20. For the third time, some respondents
were contacted by phone and some online. The RSM was made possible by
financial support from the Brewers Association of Canada, Toyota Canada
Foundation, and Aviva Canada.
For the fifth year in a row, the poll included a closer examination of
regional drinking and driving attitudes and behaviours. Both the
regional and national reports are available on TIRF's website via bit.ly/UocKLp.
About 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. Visit us online at www.tirf.ca.
SOURCE: TRAFFIC INJURY RESEARCH FOUNDATION (TIRF)
For further information:
Manager, Marketing and Communications