Drinking and Driving: When will Canadians learn?

The results of a poll conducted for the Canadian Automobile Association have provided some not good results about the respect drivers are showing towards the social responsibility of not drinking and driving. 24%, nearly a quarter of Canadians have gotten into a car knowing they were close or even above the legal limit.
A news release from the CAA dated December 29, 2010 quotes Jeff Walker, CAA vice president and chief strategy officer, “People know they shouldn’t drink and drive, but an alarming number of us still do. 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."
In citing the findings from this poll of 2,000 Canadians, the CAA went on to state:
  • Opinion is virtually unanimous that drinking and driving is unacceptable.
    Nationally, fully 98% of respondents expressed this view. What? The remaining 2% are idiots?
  • 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.
  • 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.
0.05 is now the limit
While the legal limit in Ontario remains 0.08 for the legal definition of intoxication, the province did bring in new rules in May 2009 which cover a "warn range" from 0.05 to 0.08. If your BAC (blood alcohol concentration) falls within this range, police can immediately suspend your licence up to three days for a first occurrence, seven days for a second occurrence and 30 days for a third or subsequent occurrence.
Gawd, you don’t want to have this happen to you. The police literally take away your licence and send it back to the MTO. You can’t even drive home; you have to leave the vehicle on the side on the road unless you have a passenger who isn’t as blotto as you are to drive your car.
Remember that the rules for young drivers also changed this summer. If you’re 21 or younger you can’t drink at all before driving; there is zero-tolerance for having alcohol behind the wheel.
The Ministry of Transportation of Ontario, the MTO points out that more than 2,000 people have died and more than 50,000 people have been injured in accidents involving a drinking driver. The financial cost is estimated to be $3 billion. Every year about 17,000 people are convicted for alcohol related offenses and drunk driving is the cause of almost 25% of all traffic fatalities.
Click HERE to read more from William Belle


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