MADD Canada

MADD Canada

April 12, 2007 10:38 ET

MADD Canada: Ontario proposals 'steps in the right direction'

Group please with Premier's impaired driving focus but disappointed that zero BAC for five years is not included in announced legislation

Attention: News Editor, Government/Political Affairs Editor OAKVILLE, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - April 12, 2007) - Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Canada welcomes the Ontario Government's proposed impaired driving legislation. MADD Canada's Chief Executive Officer Andrew Murie describes measures announced by Premier Dalton McGuinty's today as "steps in the right direction."

"It is good to see this Government recognize our impaired driving laws need to be more effective," says Mr. Murie. "While we are please with the announcement, we are disappointed that the Government did not take this opportunity to enhance its graduated licence program with a zero BAC limit for new drivers for five years."

"Other jurisdictions like Manitoba and Nova Scotia have introduced zero-BAC-for-five-years laws. Zero and low BAC limits have been introduced for all drivers under 21 in the United States and this has resulted in significant reductions in impaired driving fatalities," says Mr. Murie.

In its report Youth and Impaired Driving in Canada: Opportunities for Change MADD Canada presents a compelling case for introducing enhanced graduated licencing programs and a zero-BAC limit for five years.

-- Despite the progress that has been made, young drivers are still dramatically over-represented in alcohol-related fatalities. While 16-25 year olds constitute only 13.7% of the Canadian population, they account for 32.1% of the alcohol-related traffic fatalities.

-- Young people have the highest reported rates of daily, weekly and monthly heavy drinking, and binge drinking. They also have high reported rates of driving after drinking and being a passenger in a vehicle of a drinking driver.

-- While 2002 per capita rates of federal impaired driving charges are relatively low among 16-17 year olds, they rose sharply among 18-20 year olds, peaked among 21 year olds, and then fell gradually with age.

-- Traffic crashes remain the largest single cause of death among Canadian youth, accounting for almost one-third of all deaths. Even conservatively estimated, over 45% of these traffic deaths are alcohol-related.

Professor Robert Solomon, MADD Canada's Director of Legal Policy, states "Extensive research from Canada and abroad establishes that zero-BAC limits for new drivers significantly decreases alcohol-related traffic deaths among this vulnerable population."

Youth and Impaired Driving in Canada: Opportunities for Change was co-authored by Professors E. Chamberlain and R. Solomon of the Faculty of Law at the University of Western Ontario and can be found on-line at www.madd.ca.

--- Hope for seven day roadside licence suspension ---

MADD Canada had also hoped the Government would have followed the advice of its own transportation officials in extending the administrative drivers' licence suspension period to seven days, not to 72-hours as proposed. Mr. Murie explains, "Ontario's officials participated in a national review of most effective licence suspension practices. There was a consensus that longer driver licence suspensions were needed to effectively alter a drinking driver's behaviour. All provincial and territorial officials recognized seven days as a meaningful suspension period."

Mr. Murie says, "Although it is good to see the Government announcing a 72-hour licence suspension, we hope that eventually Ontario and the remaining jurisdictions across Canada will implement the recommended seven-day licence suspension for impaired driving."

"With today's announced legislation, Mr. McGuinty took steps in the right direction." MADD Canada's CEO adds, "For our part, we will continue to work with the Government and present the empirical research and international experience to achieve more effective impaired driving laws in Ontario."

/For further information: www.madd.ca/english/research/pubs.html
Professor Robert Solomon, MADD Canada's Director of Legal Policy @ (519) 661-3603 / IN: JUSTICE, POLITICS, TRANSPORT

Contact Information

  • Andrew Murie, Chief Executive Officer
    Primary Phone: 800-665-6233 ext. 224
    E-mail: amurie@madd.ca