With the long weekend fast approaching there will be plenty of residents heading out to many functions, parties and events slated to run throughout the region. Along with that unfortunately comes a greater risk of people getting behind the wheel after a few drinks. And it doesn’t take much to get charged with an impaired driving offence or much worse, get involved in a deadly collision.
According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), crashes involving alcohol and/or drugs are a leading criminal cause of death in Canada.
“Every day, on average, nearly 3.5 Canadians are killed in alcohol and/or drug-related motor vehicle crashes on public roads involving at least one “principal highway vehicle” (i.e. passenger cars, vans, trucks, and motorcycles).”
According to MADD, young people have the highest rates of traffic death and injury per capita among all age groups and the highest death rate per kilometre driven among all drivers under 75 years of age. More 19-year-olds die or are seriously injured than any other age group.
Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among 16 to 25-year-olds, and alcohol and/or drug impairment is a factor in 55% of those crashes.
Studies conclude that young drivers are over-represented in road crashes for two primary reasons: inexperience and immaturity. Although young people are the least likely to drive impaired, the ones who do are at very high risk of collision.
In 2014, road crashes claimed an estimated 2,297 lives. Based on testing of fatally-injured drivers, it may be estimated that 1,273 (55.4%) of these deaths resulted from crashes in which an individual was positive for alcohol and/or drugs.
“The fact that the number of fatalities involving drugs is double those involving alcohol alone reflects the growing incidence of driving after drug use.”
And it’s not just alcohol-related accidents. Cannabis, the most commonly-found drug, is present in almost half of the drug-positive fatal crashes according to MADD.
And looking ahead, it is vitally important that Central Albertans plan responsibly with the legalization of cannabis.
Continuously people are driving intoxicated or high and seem to be under the delusion that they are capable of operating a motor vehicle. What will it really take to avoid these tragedies? These are people’s loved ones; parents, kids, uncles and aunts. Think hard about your decisions.