December 22, 2006

Renewed efforts need to curb drunk driving, says Traffic Injury Research Foundation

Ottawa, Ontario – A new poll by the Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF) shows that renewed efforts are needed to get drunk drivers off Canadian roads. According to the poll, Canadians made 10.2 million trips in Canada last year when they felt they were over the legal alcohol limit.

However, the poll also suggests that 92.4 per cent of these trips were made by only 4.4 per cent of the drivers, indicating that a small group of repeat offenders is the main cause of the problem. The survey also found that 71 per cent of Canadians questioned think at least half or more of those convicted of drunk driving will do it again.

On the encouraging side, there is clear support for efforts to deal with the problem, with 80 per cent of respondents “very concerned” or “extremely concerned” about drinking and driving. The figure is higher than those concerned about other social issues such as the economy, the health care system, terrorist attacks and airline safety. Drunk driving is also perceived to be more serious than such issues as running red lights, street racing, excessive speeding, drowsy or distracted drivers, or drivers using cell phones.

Over 70 per cent agree or strongly agree with mandatory ignition interlocks, physical coordination tests, vehicle impoundment, and increased police spot checks. Among the various countermeasures, ignition interlocks received the highest level of support.

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