Impaired driving is a problem that can potentially affect all of us at some point. Whether we are directly impacted by the issue, or someone close to us is, the negative effects of impaired driving are far-reaching, and potentially life-changing in a negative way. In fact, impaired driving of any kind is the leading criminal cause of death and injury in Canada. This serious issue should never be taken lightly, and if we shine a light on the devastating statistics associated with impaired driving, it may help deter others from considering getting behind the wheel while intoxicated.
Devastating Statistics Associated with Impaired Driving
By the Numbers
In the past, alcohol was the main focus of law enforcement and safe driving efforts. Those drunk drivers have been a major cause of death and injury on Canadian roads, and these days the problem seems to be getting worse, not better. As of 2017, there were nearly 69,000 impaired driving incidents. Of those incidents, about 3500 were drug-related rather than simply caused by alcohol consumption. This troubling statistic has shed light on the surprising number of people who admit to driving while high on cannabis.
A recent poll conducted by Global News has revealed that more than 25% of Canadians between 18 and 24 years of age admitted to either driving while high, or riding in a vehicle with a driver who was high. We can also compare the fact that while 86% of young Canadians say they are aware of the importance of making alternative plans to avoid impaired driving under the influence of alcohol, only 70% admit the same feelings about cannabis impairment.
One reason many experts attribute to the lack of seriousness among Canadian youth related to driving under the influence of cannabis is the lack of awareness of the issue. Since cannabis has only recently been legalized, and therefore many users were previously marginalized in the past, the cultural awareness of how dangerous cannabis use is while driving is very low. Now that the drug is moving into the mainstream, and it is more accessible than ever before, the effort to make driving while high socially unacceptable must be strongly pursued by the government. You can check out ICBC regulation of drug-affected driving.
Over the past three decades, the government and safe driving advocacy groups have made a concerted and successful effort to convince Canadians of all ages that drunk driving is not at all socially acceptable. Experts now suggest that more efforts need to be made to convince people the same is true about driving while high on cannabis, or any drug for that matter. This can be accomplished through greater education about the dangers of driving while high, so people are more aware, and it doesn’t take another three decades to effectively communicate that message.
In addition to increasing social awareness of the problems with driving while high, law enforcement is making a concerted effort across the country to discourage impaired driving through harsh criminal penalties. Whether the offence is related to alcohol, drugs, or both, mandatory minimum sentences, fines and penalties are in place to prevent people from even considering impaired driving. Penalties like $1000 fines and up to 10 years in prison for a first offence are specifically in place to teach impaired drivers that it is never worth the risk.
Rather than risk fines, jail time, the loss of a vehicle or the loss of life associated with impaired driving, it is best to have a reliable designated driver you can count on to get you home safe. Safe Designated Drivers is proud to serve clients all over Vancouver with convenient and quality driving services designed to keep you and fellow drivers safe on the road. To arrange for a designated driving service with us, be sure to get in touch today!