Cities in British Columbia have some of the highest rates of impaired driving, according to a study of 33 metropolitan areas across Canada.
While St. John’s, Newfoundland, had the highest rates of drunk-driving at 411 out of every 100,000 people, B.C city Kelowna came in second at 323, and both Victoria and Abbotsford-Mission were in the top 10 list.
The statistics, extracted from police-reported data from 2015, reveal that B.C was the only province to have three cities in the top 10 list.
However, thanks to low impaired-driving rates in Vancouver, at 164, the province as a whole ranked ninth in Canada.
B.C.’s government says that alcohol-related motor vehicle deaths have decreased by 52% since the Immediate Roadside Prohibition regulations were passed in 2010.
Andrew Murie, CEO of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD Canada), said that the high rates in B.C are due to better policing rather than more drivers offending.
“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.”
Across the country, a total of 72,039 incidents of impaired driving were reported by police in 2015, with 122 of those causing death, 596 causing bodily harm, and 3,000 involving drug-impairment.
While drunk-driver numbers have been declining since 1986, drug-related impairments have been increasing since 2009.
And it seems that gender plays a significant role in the likelihood of drunk-driving behaviours.
Men are far more likely to be caught driving while under the influence, according to the statistics, which reveal that 80% of those charged with impaired driving were men.
However, the number of females charged has increased over the last 30 years.
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