MADD Canada

MADD Canada

July 06, 2011 11:02 ET

MADD Canada Challenges Myths about the 'Hard-Core' Drinking Driver

OAKVILLE, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - July 6, 2011) - A MADD Canada statistical review of the blood alcohol concentrations (BACs) of fatally-injured, alcohol-positive drivers dispels the myths that the category of drivers with the highest BAC levels is growing, and that these drivers are immune to general impaired driving countermeasures.

"The BACs of Dead, Alcohol-Positive Drivers in Canada from 1987 to 2008: What Do the Numbers Tell Us" outlines the BAC levels of fatally-injured, alcohol-positive drivers, focusing on those with BACs of .151%* and higher.

"We commonly hear two arguments about this category of drinking drivers," said MADD Canada Chief Executive Officer Andrew Murie. "The first claim is that this category is growing disproportionately compared to drinking drivers with lower BACs. The second claim is that this group has been unaffected by the legislative reforms of the last two decades. The statistical review tells a very different story."

The percentage of fatally-injured, alcohol-positive drivers in each BAC range has been extremely stable from 1987 to 2008. Despite claims that the highest BAC category is growing, the so-called 'hard-core' drinking driver problem has remained remarkably consistent over the 22-year period, making up a low of 53% and a high of 63% of the total deaths among alcohol-positive drivers.

Furthermore, the measures taken to reduce impaired driving have had a similar impact across all BAC ranges. The review showed a 45% decrease in the number of deaths among drivers in the highest BAC category.

"The significant decrease in deaths among those drivers tells us that federal and provincial impaired driving countermeasures absolutely do work among these drivers with the highest BACs," Mr. Murie said.

The report's author, Professor Robert Solomon, stated "the numbers do not support the view that high BAC drivers are a new problem or a problem that is getting worse in Canada. Nor do the numbers suggest that general countermeasures will be ineffective in reducing alcohol-related crash fatalities among such drivers." Professor Solomon is with the Faculty of Law at the University of Western Ontario and is the National Director of Legal Policy for MADD Canada.

Despite declines in alcohol-positive drivers being killed, much work remains to be done. In 2008, impairment-related traffic crashes were estimated to have killed almost 1,200 Canadians and injured more than 68,000.

The report notes that general countermeasures, such as lower federal criminal BAC driving limits and the introduction of random breath testing, would likely have similar effects across all BAC ranges. In fact international traffic research suggests that such measures may well have the greatest impact on high BAC drivers.

MADD Canada continues to call on the Government of Canada to introduce random breath testing, which is widely acknowledged to be the most effective means of deterring impaired driving.

*Note: the starting point for the highest BAC category was .151% from 1987 to 2001, and increased to.161% in 2002).

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.

Contact Information

  • MADD Canada
    Andrew Murie
    Chief Executive Officer
    1-800-665-6233, ext. 224 or 416-720-7642