December 9, 2004

One in five adults admits to driving after drinking

Ottawa, Ontario – The majority of Canadian drivers believe that drinking and driving is a priority social issue and the most serious road safety issue they face, yet nearly one in five (18%) admit to driving after drinking alcoholic beverages in the previous month, according to the findings of the Road Safety Monitor (RSM) released today by the Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF).

In a national survey of more than 1,200 drivers, TIRF found that drinking and driving is perceived as a leading social issue by the vast majority (81%) of Canadians, who expressed greater concern over this problem than issues such as the state of the health care system, airline safety or the threat of terrorism. Nonetheless, the survey estimates that 3.9 million Canadians continue to drive after drinking.

The survey also found that the public is deeply concerned about teenagers drinking and driving, even though young drivers are less likely than older drivers to engage in this behaviour. The survey showed that while fewer than 12 per cent of teenage drivers report having driven within two hours of consuming alcohol in the previous month, more than twice as many (27.8 per cent) drivers in the 25-34 age category report having done so.

“Statistics show that alcohol is involved in crashes involving teens much less often than in collisions involving older drivers,” says Dr. Doug Beirness, Vice President of Research, TIRF. “Consistent with this, teenage drivers account for only five per cent of all impaired driving trips, less than any age group.”

Dr. Beirness says that, although alcohol remains a leading contributor to road crashes involving young drivers, progress is being made through programs and policies aimed at reducing impaired driving.

“This survey makes an important contribution to meaningful public policy,” says Stephen Beatty, Managing Director of Toyota Canada Inc. “Toyota is strongly committed to driver and road safety, and is proud to partner with TIRF to increase public understanding on these important social issues and to contribute to greater safety on our roads.”

Toyota is a platinum supporter of TIRF and one of the primary sponsors of this research. Other primary sponsors of the RSM include Transport Canada, the Brewers of Canada and The Railway Association of Canada. Additional support comes from the Canada Safety Council.

For a complete copy of the RSM, please visit

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