Drinking and drugs while driving: an avoidable danger


March 21st is National Impaired Driving Prevention Week. Park-Extension news is focusing on this very important problem plaguing our society. Read in this week’s paper an alarming study showing a percentage of Canadians driving under the influence even though they know there are impaired.

In Quebec, on this National Impaired Driving Prevention Week, the Minister of Transport, François Bonnardel, is reminding drivers that alcohol and drugs affect the ability to drive, regardless of the quantity consumed. In addition to being risky, driving under their influence is criminal act and can cause an accident.

Impaired driving is one of the main causes of accidents in Quebec. Each year, on average, 85 deaths occur and 220 people are seriously injured due to drinking and driving. The presence of drugs or medication was also detected in 37% of deceased drivers who were tested. Moreover, in recent years, the average number of criminal offenses related to alcohol or drugs is approximately 12,500 annually.

All accidents caused by impaired driving are preventable accidents. To this end, Bill 22 (An Act to amend the Automobile Insurance Act, the Highway Safety Code and other provisions), presented to the National Assembly on February 9, contains two measures concerning the driving while impaired by alcohol. These measures are the introduction of the zero-alcohol requirement for holders of a learner’s license as well as the extension of the mandatory period of use of the alcohol ignition interlock device for a first offence in the event of non-compliance with the established criteria.

“Alcohol and drugs still cause too many victims on our roads. However, it is a behavior that can be avoided. I am therefore taking advantage of National Impaired Driving Awareness Week to remind drivers that when making the decision to consume alcohol or drugs, regardless of the quantity, the best option is not to drive. For your safety and that of others, plan an alternative solution for a safe return home.” said François Bonnardel.