Drinking & Driving: Facts and Statistics

It’s stupid. It’s dangerous. It’s against the law.

And yet we continue to hear stories about drinking & driving all the time.

A recent article in The Province reported that a Surrey man is facing charges after driving erratically through Chilliwack. When the RCMP officer pulled the man over, he had an open can of beer in his hand. What’s worse? His 12-year-old son was in the passenger seat next to him.

According to ICBC statistics, 128 people were killed in BC car accidents involving alcohol in 2007. This is nearly one-third of all car accident fatalities in the year.

As for injuries, nearly 3,000 were caused by accidents involving alcohol – some minor, some serious, and some completely life-altering.

Provincial anti-drinking and driving groups started to appear in Canada in the early 1980s. MADD Canada, now today’s most prolific anti-drinking and driving group, followed in 1990.

Estimates report that 34,138 lives have been saved as a result of the work done by MADD Canada and its predecessors. Sadly, 41,606 Canadians were killed in alcohol-related crashes in the same period. There’s a long way to go yet.

“Driving is a privilege, not a right,” reads the MADD statement of beliefs. “Impaired driving crashes are not accidents, but rather the direct result of an individual’s conscious decision to drive after drinking or using drugs.”

For more information about MADD Canada, visit http://www.madd.ca/.

Next Post: Part II on drinking & driving, including insurance implications, punitive damages, and financial consequences.

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James Buckley
James was part of the team of lawyers who joined Tony and Mike at the start up of Slater Vecchio LLP in 1998. James has only ever practiced in the area of plaintiff’s personal injury law.