The Road Safety Monitor – Drinking and Driving


The Road Safety Monitor (RSM) is a unique, annual public opinion survey that takes the pulse of the nation on key traffic safety issues and tracks changes in opinions, attitudes and behaviours of Canadians by means of a telephone and on-line survey of a random, representative sample of Canadian drivers. RSM results are strongly correlated with fatality data and can therefore be used as an early warning/surveillance system.

For more than a decade, several indicators used to measure driving after drinking have revealed substantial declines. Since 1998, when 9.1% of respondents self-reported driving when they thought they were over the legal limit, steady progress has been achieved. But in 2015, this downward trend reversed, and in 2018, 5.8% of respondents indicated they had driven when they thought they were over the legal limit in the past 12 months.

According to the most recent crash data available, the number of alcohol-related fatalities increased in 2015. These fatalities occurred within 12 months of crashes on public roadways across the country, excluding British Columbia (BC). Although the number of persons killed in crashes involving a drinking driver between 1995 and 2015 generally decreased (1,057 compared to 446), fatal crash data revealed the 446 fatalities in 2015 are an increase as compared to 427 fatalities in 2014. This is concerning and suggests that an increase in self-reported drinking and driving since 2015 may be followed by a continued increase in these alcohol-related fatalities.

The Traffic Injury Research Foundation, with the ongoing support of sponsors, will continue to monitor trends and perceptions about drinking and driving in Canada in order to effectively inform drunk driving countermeasures.



Please see individual RSMs for sponsors

Project Status: Ongoing

If you would like more information about this or any other project, contact:

Marketing & Communications
613-238-5235 (office)
1-877-238-5235 (toll-free)
1-613-238-5292 (fax)