Impaired driving is the leading cause of criminal death and injury in Canada and young people continue to be the largest group of drivers who die in crashes and later test positive for alcohol or drugs.
Even though alcohol-impaired driving is declining, in 2016 Canada had the highest percentage of alcohol-impaired driving crash deaths among 20 Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries.
Drug-impaired driving has been on the rise in Canada since police-reported data became available in 2009, and is a major contributor to fatal road crashes in Canada.
This month, the Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness launched the Government of Canada’s Don’t Drive High public awareness campaign to communicate to Canadians the risks associated with driving under the influence of cannabis and other drugs. Ads are currently displayed in public spaces on social media and television, and in movie theatres. Public awareness efforts will include evidence-based information on the risks of drug-impaired driving.
According to recent public opinion research, half of youth (50%) aged 16-24 believe that driving while under the influence of cannabis is more socially acceptable than driving under the influence of alcohol. Canadians need to know the real facts about driving while impaired by cannabis, alcohol or other drugs. The Government is making significant investments in public education to inform Canadians, particularly youth and young adults, about the health and safety risks of cannabis and other drugs. In addition, the Government introduced Bill C-46, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (offences relating to conveyances) and to make consequential amendments to other Acts that would strengthen impaired driving laws and help ensure the public is better protected from both alcohol and drug-impaired driving.
The federal government will also continue to engage young Canadians on social media and leverage partnerships with other levels of governments and organizations that are working toward our common goal to eliminate alcohol and drug-impaired driving on Canadian roads.
- 22% of youth who have used cannabis said they drove while impaired and most said they did it because they don’t think it’s as dangerous as drunk driving.
- One in three Canadians report that they have ridden in a vehicle operated by a driver who was under the effects of cannabis.
- 28% of Canadians who have used cannabis say they have operated a vehicle while under the influence.
- In 2016, there were 3,098 incidents of police-reported drug-impaired driving, an increase of 11% over the previous year.
- The percentage of Canadian drivers fatally injured in vehicle crashes who test positive for drugs (40%) now exceeds that of drivers who test positive for alcohol (33.3%).
- Canadians who drove after drinking reported they had done so, on average, six times in the preceding 12 months.
- Saskatchewan had the highest rate of police-reported impaired driving among all provinces in 2015.
- Don’t Drive High
- Government of Canada’s support to provinces and territories, law enforcement, research and public education to detect and deter drug-impaired drivers
- Mothers Against Drunk Driving Canada
- Young Drivers of Canada & Public Safety Canada join forces to combat drug impaired driving
- Canadian Automobile Association
- Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police
- Police-reported crime statistics in Canada, 2016
- Centers for Diseases Control Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report
- Impaired Driving in Canada, 2015
- Strengthening Impaired Driving Laws