Canada’s worst cities for impaired driving

Published: December 24, 2016

Updated: July 24, 2018

Author: Luke Jones

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A study of 33 metropolitan areas in Canada shows which cities have the highest rates of impaired driving, based on police reports. The report shows that cities in British Columbia have the highest rates of impaired driving, while St. John’s, Newfoundland, had the high rates of specific drunk-driving, with 411 out of every 100,000 people.

Kelowna in B.C. was second with 323 out of every 100, while B.C. cities Abbotsford-Mission and Victoria were in the top 10. Indeed, British Columbia did not fare well, being the only province on the list with three cities in the top 10.

The data was taken from police reports during 2015 and showed Vancouver had 164 impaired drivers from per 100,000.

Despite B.C. featuring heavily in the top 10, the province has initiated a number of anti-drunk driving campaigns to some success. For example, the Immediate Roadside Prohibition regulations passed in 2010 have resulted in a 52% decrease in alcohol-related deaths since.

It seems that the high figures in B.C. may actually be something of a positive that points to better policing and not simply more offenders. Andrew Murie, CEO of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD Canada), certainly postulates this idea:

“It’s more about police practice than the numbers around impaired driving. B.C. by far does more enforcement on impaired driving than any other province,” he told Global News.

“Police are doing a really good job of catching who’s out there. B.C. is the model program for Canada.”

Throughout 2015 in Canada, police reported some 72,039 incidents of impaired driving, with 122 resulting in death, 596 in bodily harm, and 3,000 involving drug-impairment. Drink driving rates have consistently declined for the last thirty years, but police reports show drug-impaired driving is increasing.