The Real Consequences and Statistics of Impaired Driving

Everyone knows that getting behind the wheel of a motorized vehicle while impaired from alcohol and/or drugs is against the law. Even with all the public awareness campaigns, RIDE checkpoints, and other deterrents, every single day people get behind the wheel of their vehicles after drinking or using drugs. Unfortunately, before they are actually caught by the police, these people average well over 80 times behind the wheel while impaired or drunk.

To illustrate this point, according to a 2016 study conducted by the CDC in the United States, out of 19 advanced countries, Canada ranked number one for the percentage of alcohol-related vehicle deaths at 34%, with the U.S. and New Zealand trailing right behind at 31%. According to MADD of Canada, 16 to 25 years olds accounted for 33.4% of impaired and drunk driving-related traffic deaths in 2010.

Furthermore, in 2012 from statistics provided by MADD of Canada, 58.8% of fatal motor crashes resulting in the deaths of 1,497 people were committed by those under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. Out of these accidents:

  • 16% or 407 deaths involved drivers under the influence of both drugs and alcohol.
  • 7% or 476 deaths involved drivers under the influence of alcohol.
  • 1% or 614 deaths involved drivers under the influence of drugs, with marijuana being the drug most frequently used.

In 2013, a survey of Ontario of teens in grades 10 thru 12 found:

  • 4% operated a motor vehicle after drinking.
  • 7% drove after smoking marijuana.

Due to this shift in drugs becoming more of a problem for impairment, the laws regarding impaired driving offences were recently changed to reflect a separate charge for driving under the influence of drugs.

What Is Impaired Driving?

Impaired driving most often refers to operating a vehicle after consuming alcohol and/or drugs, which impairs the individual’s ability to safely operate the vehicle. However, impairment can also include operating boats, ships, trains, and planes.

Impaired driving is called different things including:

  • Drunk Driving
  • Driving Under the Influence (DUI)
  • Intoxicated Driving
  • Driving Over 80

For those of legal drinking age, the law has clearly defined levels of blood alcohol levels (BACs), with “Over 80” being considered drunk driving and between “50 and Under 80” being considered the “Warn Range” or impaired driving. For young adults and teens, who are not of the legal drinking age, there is a zero tolerance for operating a vehicle with any BAC amount, as well as any level of drug impairment.

The real consequences of driving while impaired puts the lives of everyone on the road at risk. In addition, if one is caught by the police, convicted and found guilty of the impaired driving offence, the financial costs can easily run into tens of thousands of dollars!

The best course of action to avoid these consequences is to always plan ahead and make wise decisions to not drive after drinking and/or using drugs that impair your abilities to safely drive. In the event you failed to make a wise choice and have been charged with an impaired driving offence, help is available from me, Toronto dui lawyer, Jeff Hershberg. Call my law office at (416) 428-7360 now for a free consultation!