Oakville, Ontario – More than three-quarters of Canadians polled said they support random breath testing (RBT) as a measure to reduce impaired driving, according to a new survey by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Canada.
“These results indicate the strong level of concern that Canadians have about impaired driving and the need to address the problem,” said Margaret Miller, MADD Canada national president. “Random breath testing is a proven effective traffic safety measure which has saved lives and prevented injuries in other countries. It could save lives and prevent injuries in Canada too.”
The survey found that 98 per cent of those polled think impaired driving is an important or very important public safety issue; 77 per cent support or somewhat supported RBT; 79 per cent strongly or somewhat agreed that RBT is a reasonable intrusion on drivers; and 75 per cent agreed or somewhat agreed that police should be able to randomly require drivers to give a breath test.
MADD said that RBT has resulted in significant reductions in alcohol-related crashes in comparable developed countries where it has been introduced, citing a decline of 19 per cent in the total number of annual road road fatalities in Ireland in the first year it was introduced, and a total fatal crash reduction of 35 per cent in Queensland between 1998 and 1992.
“We estimate that in 2007, 1,239 people were killed and 73,120 were injured in alcohol-related crashes,” Miller said. “If we take an average of the crash reductions seen in other countries with RBT, and estimate a 22 per cent crash reduction in Canada, that is 273 lives saved and more than 16,000 injuries prevented. We strongly urge the government to bring RBT to Canada so that we can begin to see its benefits on our roads and in our communities.”