The Canadian chapter of Mothers Against Drinking and Driving, or MADD as it is more commonly known, has released information concerning impaired driving across Canada. Their fifth annual comprehensive assessment was released on April 23, The 2012 Provincial and Territorial Legislative Review. This year instead of ratings and rankings they provided charts detailing the research conducted, which allows readers to interpret the data and read MADD’s interpretations. The yearly study assessed national, provincial, and territorial crashes finding that Saskatchewan is the worst offender when it comes to impaired driving.
As stated in the MADD Review, “impaired driving remains Canada’s leading criminal cause of death, claiming almost twice as many lives per year as all types of homicide combined.”
The study showed that in 2009, the most recent crash data open to review, deaths related to impaired driving ranged greatly across the provinces. Per 100,000 people it came to be seen that Ontario has the lowest amount at 2.03 deaths, while Saskatchewan was an extreme high in comparison at 8.44 deaths. This was the highest among all of the provinces and territories. To put this in perspective Saskatchewan is about two times the Canadian national average, which was 3.18 per 100,000 people.
In addition to Saskatchewan being the worst offender it is now listed as having made no progress in implementing “impaired driving initiatives.” (MADD Canada, Review 2012) The past three years have seen no changes even though Saskatchewan is classified as the worst offender in Canada. The review also states that with no initiatives being taken in Saskatchewan on the legislative level that it will likely worsen in comparison to the national standard.
Within their review MADD Canada makes recommendations to the Saskatchewan Government that would aid in the fight against impaired driving. These recommendations are major reforms focused on licensing, short-term license suspensions, vehicle interlock, and vehicle impoundment and forfeiture, in order to lower the number of deaths caused by impairment.
Some of these major changes are to increase the minimum age for licensed driving on public roads to 16 and strengthen the graduated licensing program. In addition to harsher legislation against impaired driving they hope to make the punishments harsher. The Review is asking for Saskatchewan to “introduce a seven-day administrative licence suspension and vehicle impoundment program for alcohol/drug impairment.”
Internationally Canada’s records hold up poorly. The lead author of the Review, Professor Robert Solomon, Faculty of Law, University of Western Ontario, explained “Canada’s per capita rate of alcohol-related crash deaths in 2008 was five times that of Germany, even though its alcohol consumption rate was 20 percent higher than Canada’s. There is no reason why Canada should continue to have such a poor impaired driving record when it is clear that significant process can be made.”