MADD Canada

MADD Canada

October 19, 2006 08:02 ET

Provinces' Report Card on Impaired Driving Laws Released

Some Provinces Are Taking Strides Towards Safer Roads – Others Are Ignoring Impaired Driving Realities / MADD Canada: "We want to see changes – faster."

Attention: News Editor, Government/Political Affairs Editor OAKVILLE, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - Oct. 19, 2006) - Manitoba is head of the class when it comes to effective impaired driving laws in Canada. With a grade of A-, the Province handily outperformed Ontario, Newfoundland and Labrador, Alberta and Saskatchewan to take the top honours in Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Canada's Rating the Provinces and Territories: The 2006 Report Card (RTP 2006).

MADD Canada today released its comprehensive study that provides provincial and territorial governments with legislative initiatives to effectively reduce impaired driving. The study also thoroughly reviews and then grades each jurisdiction's impaired driving legislation. Full details of RTP 2006, including a podcast interview with study co-author Professor Robert Solomon can be found on www.madd.ca.

Podcast: www.madd.ca/podcast
Study: www.madd.ca/english/research/rtp.html

RTP 2006 is published as a reference guide to encourage new and better impaired driving legislation explains MADD Canada's CEO Andrew Murie. "MADD Canada has identified best practices in our country, as well as new legislative measures that need to be introduced into Canadian jurisdictions. We have graded and ranked each Province and Territory so that each jurisdiction gets a sense of how they are doing in comparison to the others."

Mr. Murie comments that MADD Canada is generally pleased with the progress made by provincial and territorial governments since the organization's last report card in 2003. He observes, "Almost all of the jurisdictions have introduced some measures to strengthen their impaired driving legislation since The 2003 Report Card. Some governments have made major strides towards safer roads. Others have done relatively little and are ignoring the serious realities of the current impaired driving trends."

MADD Canada served up kudos for four governments. As it did in 2003, Manitoba again leads the way and it gains special attention for its introduction of new legislative reforms including a five-year, zero-BAC for new drivers. Also, Newfoundland and Labrador, the Northwest Territories and Alberta were recognized as having made significant progress towards enacting effective impaired driving measures in their respective jurisdictions.

MADD Canada specifically identified five governments for not performing well in the fight against impaired driving. Nova Scotia and Québec have fallen sharply in the 2006 rankings, and New Brunswick, Nunavut and Prince Edward Island have made little progress from their relatively poor showings in 2003.

Professor Robert Solomon, of the Law Faculty of University of Western Ontario, co-author of the study and currently serving as Legal Director for MADD Canada, sees that much good has come from MADD Canada's on-going review of the country's laws. "In the seven years since the organization initiated the Rating the Provinces project, considerable progress has been made in respect to graduated licensing programs, provincial suspensions, and alcohol interlock, vehicle impoundment and remedial programs. There's been a lack of progress regarding police enforcement powers since 2000; however, we've been able to catch governments' attention on policing issues and we want to see movement on this in the years to come."

"We hope that provinces and territories will consider the legislative agenda prepared for their jurisdiction and use this research to strengthen their impaired driving laws and make their roads safer," says Professor Solomon.

MADD Canada points to current trends of impaired driving fatalities and injuries as a call for Canadian governments to stay focused on finding new solutions for reducing alcohol- and drug-impaired driving.

-- Despite the legislative improvements that some jurisdictions have made, impaired traffic deaths are rising, and impaired driving remains the single largest criminal cause of death in Canada. In 2003, alcohol and/or drugs were estimated to be involved in over 1,250 traffic fatalities, 74,100 injuries and 161,250 property-damage-only collisions.
-- Impaired driving takes a disproportionate toll among young Canadians. For example, 16-25 year olds constituted only 13.7% of the Canadian population in 2003, but accounted for 32.1% of the alcohol-related traffic fatalities.
-- The number of young, inexperienced drivers on our roads is expected to rise until 2011. As well, rates of binge drinking, and driving after drug use are increasing among young people, an already extremely high-risk population.

"Comprehensive provincial and territorial reforms are essential if we are to achieve the even modest goal of preventing further increases in impaired driving deaths," states Professor Solomon.

Andrew Murie summarizes MADD Canada's underlining message to the Provinces and Territories. "The status quo is simply not acceptable and governments need to stay focused on the available solutions to reducing the fatalities and carnage on our roads. Given there are good examples of effective provincial impaired driving laws in our country today, we want to see changes - faster."

"There is really no reason why every province and territory couldn't have the laws Manitoba has enacted. Take a good look at the best practices being set in Canada and exert the political will to introduce what is needed," he adds.
/For further information: Professor Robert Solomon (519) 661-3603
Listen: www.madd.ca/podcast/ IN: JUSTICE, POLITICS

Contact Information

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