OTTAWA, Dec. 19, 2013 /CNW/ - A new Road Safety Monitor (RSM) poll
conducted by the Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF) and
sponsored by Beer Canada, Toyota Canada Foundation, and Aviva Canada reveals a significant decrease between 2007 and 2013 in the percentage
of drivers who admitted to driving when they thought they were over the
legal limit in the past twelve months from 8.2% to 4.8% respectively.
The public opinion poll conducted in October 2013 investigated
Canadians' behaviours and actions in relation to drinking and driving
as well as trends.
According to survey results, among the 4.8% of respondents who drove
when thought they were over the legal limit, 25.5% reported doing most
of their drinking at a bar while 24.4% of respondents reported that
they had been drinking at the home of a friend or relative, meaning
that they were drinking in the presence of others.
To help reinforce safety messages with those who continue to drive after
drinking, it is important that Canadians speak up. "Many of those who
continue to drive after drinking are often with family or friends,"
reports Dr. Ward Vanlaar, Vice President Research at TIRF. "This
provides an important opportunity for these individuals to help change
behaviour by letting drivers know the risks associated with driving
after drinking, and that there are options that they can choose to
avoid getting behind the wheel after drinking."
Drinking and driving has well-known effects on road safety.
Alcohol-impaired drivers suffer from a variety of limits to their
performance: they commit careless driving errors, have significantly
reduced situational awareness, and overall may be more likely to make
unsafe decisions behind the wheel. Drinking can affect the brain for
hours and may even influence a person's driving the next morning.
"The fact that fewer people report driving when they thought they were
over the legal limit has helped to reduce the risk these drivers pose
to themselves and others," explains Vanlaar. "This appears to be in
line with the decline in alcohol-related fatalities across Canada. A
clearer picture will appear with more monitoring of the trend."
Over the past 25 years, unprecedented gains have been made in reducing
the number of drinking drivers on the road and crashes involving
drinking drivers," notes Steve Brown, TIRF Research Associate. "These
gains are largely due to the combination of influential social
programs, effective legislation used to reduce drinking and driving and
Yet, in spite of these declines, researchers underscore that more
progress is still essential. The study also found that the decrease
among the percentage of drivers who admitted to driving after drinking
any amount of alcohol in 2013 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
Of equal importance, public opinion polls have consistently demonstrated
widespread concern among Canadians about drinking drivers as a road
safety issue. In TIRF's 2013 survey, 76.7% of Canadian drivers still
viewed drinking and driving as a very or extremely serious problem.
"While this statistic reveals that Canadian drivers still take drinking
and driving very seriously, the number of people citing drinking
drivers as a significant road safety issue seems to have stabilized and
even decreased in recent years" notes Brown. "The reasons behind this
stabilization are still in need of thorough investigation; however it
is nevertheless still clear that drinking drivers are a priority
concern among Canadians".
Holiday events and celebrations can be exciting times for family and
friends to get together. TIRF, along with poll sponsors, Beer Canada, Toyota Canada Foundation, and Aviva Canada, reminds Canadians to plan ahead when out celebrating with friends or
at home with loved ones.
"Everyone is encouraged to stay overnight, take a cab or arrange to have
a designated driver who will get them home safely", Brown recommends.
"A designated driver should be someone who has not had anything to
drink, not just the person in the group who had the least to drink."
In 2013, 76.7% of Canadians continue to regard the issue of drinking and
driving in general, and drinking and driving by young drivers in
particular (74.4%) as priority concerns.
In 2010, the most recent year for which data are available, 744
Canadians were killed in a traffic crash involving a drinking driver.
When asked about driving when they thought they were over the legal
limit in the past 12 months, 4.8% of Canadians admitted to doing this
Males tend to be overrepresented in the drinking and driving issue in
About the poll. These results are based on the RSM, an annual public opinion poll
developed and conducted by TIRF. A total of 1,201 Canadians completed
the poll in October of 2013. Results can be considered accurate within
plus or minus 2.8%, 19 times out of 20. For the fifth time, some
respondents were contacted by phone and some on-line. The RSM was made
possible by financial support from Beer Canada, Toyota Canada Foundation, and Aviva Canada.
About TIRF. Established in 1964, TIRF's mission is to reduce traffic-related
deaths and injuries. As a national, independent, charitable road safety
research 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; Twitter; Facebook.
Road Safety Monitor 2013: Drinking and Driving in Canada
SOURCE: Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF)
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