Canadian Automobile Association (CAA)

Canadian Automobile Association (CAA)

December 29, 2010 10:30 ET

One in Four Canadians Admit to Driving Intoxicated in Last Year

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Dec. 29, 2010) - Nearly one quarter ­- 24 per cent - of Canadians have gotten behind the wheel in the last year believing they were above or near the legal limit for impaired driving, a poll for the Canadian Automobile Association has found.

The result comes despite another finding of the national poll, that a whopping 98 per cent of respondents believe drinking and driving is unacceptable.

"People know they shouldn't drink and drive, but an alarming number of us still do," said Jeff Walker, CAA vice president and chief strategy officer. "The temptation is highest at this time of year, but Canadians need to listen to their conscience and not drink and drive."

A designated driver, calling a taxi or using public transit are all ways to avoid a potentially deadly accident due to drinking and driving, Walker added.

Among the findings of the poll of 2,000 Canadians, which is considered accurate to within 2.2 percentage points, 19 times out of 20:

  • Opinion is virtually unanimous that drinking and driving is unacceptable. Nationally, fully 98% of respondents expressed this view, while 92% said it was completely unacceptable. Virtually no one (1%) felt that drinking and driving is acceptable. This opinion is shared from coast to coast with no less than 96% in any region calling drinking and driving unacceptable.
  • Despite this strong opposition to drinking and driving, nearly one in four Canadians admits that in the last year, they drove when their blood alcohol level was above or close to the legal limit. Nationally, 24% of respondents admit to driving under these circumstances at least once. Most (22%) say they had done so only once (9%) or rarely (13%). Just 2% said they had driven under these conditions fairly often. Residents of Quebec, those under the age of 35, and men were most likely to say they had driven when they thought their blood alcohol level was near or above the legal limit. 
  • About the same number say they have driven after having a drink. Nationally, 28% said this, with 12% saying they had done so one or two times, 8% saying they had done so 3 to 5 times, and 8% saying they had done so six or more times. Women were more likely than men to say they had not had a drink before driving in the last year, while residents west of Ontario were most likely to say they had, compared to their eastern counterparts.

CAA is a federation of nine automobile clubs providing more than 5.6 million members with emergency roadside assistance, travel and insurance services, and member rewards. CAA also advocates on issues of concern to our members, including road safety, the environment, mobility, infrastructure and consumer protection.

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