MADD Canada

MADD Canada

May 02, 2008 08:37 ET

New study recommends zero alcohol BAC for young drivers to age 21

MADD Canada calls on provinces to extend their graduated licencing programs

Attention: News Editor, Government/Political Affairs Editor, Transportation Editor OAKVILLE, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - May 2, 2008) - A new study published in the Canadian journal Injury Prevention recommends that provinces extend the zero BAC restrictions in place for young drivers' graduated licensing programs (GLPs) until the age of 21.

Zero blood alcohol concentration limits for drivers under 21: lessons from Canada was written by University of Western Ontario professors Erica Chamberlain and Robert Solomon and can be found on the Injury Prevention website: www.injuryprevention.bmj.com

At issue is the fact that young drivers 18-20 years-old are dramatically overrepresented in alcohol-related deaths and injuries. Today, many provincial GLPs include a zero or low BAC restriction. However, the young driver fatalities occur after the GLP restrictions are lifted, often around the age of 18 or 19.

The study states: "Given that the rates of alcohol-related crash death do not significantly decrease until after the age of 25, it would be justifiable to extend the BAC restriction until at least the age of 21. Such a limit would help separate drinking from driving for a longer period of time… [and] instill the practice of separating drinking from driving as drivers enter adulthood."

Andrew Murie, MADD Canada CEO says this should be a priority for provinces when considering changes to their GLPs. "Extending the zero BAC restriction will make a significant impact on the numbers of young driver fatalities. Statistics show this is the age group that typically has a higher level of alcohol consumption and are more prone to binge drinking. It makes sense to keep the zero BAC restriction in place until drivers are beyond this period in their lives."

MADD Canada has advanced a zero BAC until 21 policy with provinces for years, explains Mr. Murie. "We have this policy as a cornerstone of our Rating the Provinces reports and we were very supportive of the province of Manitoba, which was the first to impose a zero BAC limit for the first five years of licensure. We're pleased to see Nova Scotia and some other jurisdictions looking to implement similar licensing programs."

"We encourage all provinces to look at the compelling argument made in this study and extend their graduated licensing programs to include a zero BAC restriction to age 21," says MADD Canada's CEO.

MADD Canada's Youth and Impaired Driving in Canada and Rating the Provinces documents can be found, respectively, at:
www.madd.ca/english/news/pr/p06may16.htm
www.madd.ca/english/research/rtp.html

/For further information: www.madd.ca/ IN: POLITICS, TRANSPORT

Contact Information

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