The Road Safety Monitor – Drinking and Driving


The Road Safety Monitor (RSM) is a unique, annual public opinion poll 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 an 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.

The pandemic has affected drinking and driving behaviours among Canadians. In 2021, more than 1 in 4 respondents (27.1%) who reportedly drove when they thought they were over the legal limit did most of their drinking alone at home compared to 19.4% in 2017-2019. While this increase may have been influenced by fewer opportunities to drink socially due to widespread lockdowns, this concerning change warrants close attention as it could have long-term impacts on drinking and driving behaviours as well as implications for the preventative tools and strategies adopted to reduce this problem.

Of concern, in 2021 almost 1 in 10 respondents (9.7%) admitted driving when they thought they were over the legal limit in the past 12 months; rising from 7.5% in 2020. This represents an almost 30% increase in a single year and is the highest reported level since data have been collected by TIRF in the past two decades.

TIRF, 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)