Impaired driving is at its lowest levels since statistics have been tracked in Canada. But drinking and driving is still happening often enough to cause crashes, injuries and deaths, and often enough to be concerning.
May 14-20 is National Road Safety Week and the Canada Safety Council’s messaging this year is that impairment and driving don’t mix.
“When you get behind the wheel in a state of intoxication, whether from alcohol or drugs, you put your own life as well as the lives of other road users in danger,” noted the council in a press release.
The council pointed to the latest-available Statistics Canada information that found an annual rate of 200 impaired driving incidents per 100,000 population. Nanaimo RCMP counted about 260 incidences here in 2018, which would put us above the national average, above where we were last year and above what any of us want.
The safety council notes that while Canada’s impaired driving rate is decreasing, it’s still the leading criminal cause of death and injury in the country.
The safety council acknowledges the different dangers caused by alcohol and cannabis impairment, noting that drunk drivers can tend to speed and drive recklessly, whereas stoned drivers may have slower reaction times and drive unpredictably, stopping at lights and stop signs for longer than expected.
“When mixed with alcohol, the impairing effects can become multiplicative and exponentially more dangerous,” the release notes. “Don’t take the risk. If you’re driving, stay sober.”
It’s important to remember that with impaired driving, the risk isn’t just in getting caught. As drivers we have a responsibility not only to ourselves, but to all the other motorists making their way around our roads.