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.

Data from TIRF’s National Fatality Database indicate the percentage of persons killed in a crash involving a drinking driver has remained below 30% since 2012; in fact, it dropped to a new low of nearly 25% in 2018. However, the most current fatality data for 2020 revealed an increase to 27.2%, with 447 Canadians killed in road crashes involving a drinking driver. While the good news is the decrease in absolute numbers of persons killed in these preventable crashes, the rising proportion of fatalities suggests ground has been lost.

This latest Road Safety Monitor poll revealed one in ten (10.5%) respondents in 2022 admitted they had driven when they thought they were over the legal limit in the past 12 months. This is the highest level reported in more than two decades, up from 9.7% in 2021, representing an 8.2% increase. Additionally, when exploring with whom drivers did most of their drinking, over one-third of drivers (38.5%) reported they most often drank with close friends in 2022, a significant increase from 27.6% in 2020.

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
Project Updated: December 21, 2022

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