Impaired driving numbers are down, but it would be foolhardy for brokers to abandon pushing the message to clients that impaired driving is harmful.
“Really people need to understand that the personal costs are too great to take the risk,” says Steve Kee, of the Insurance Bureau of Canada. “IBC is supportive of initiatives to protect drivers and improve safety on our roads.”
With the arrival of R.I.D.E. programs and such initiatives as Operation Red Nose, brokers can share the message of safe, sober driving with clients.
“Really, people need to understand that the personal costs are too great to take the risk,” Kee told Insurance Business. “Drinking and driving will impact you on so many levels, it risks your life and the lives of others. There could be an impact on innocent victims, or your family. Is it really worth that risk?”
Operation Red Nose is now in its 30th annual campaign, partnering with the Insurance Council of British Columbia, a province that toughened its impaired driving laws in September of 2010 – introducing an automatic 90-day driving ban and $500 fine for refusing a breathalyzer or blowing over the 0.08 blood alcohol level limit. (continued.)
The some 58,000 Canadian Operation Red Nose volunteers are involved in this year's special campaign, as the safe ride service celebrates its 30th annual campaign. With the help of its provincial partner, ICBC, the Operation Red Nose service will be offered up until December 31 in 106 host communities across Canada, including 13 communities in B.C.
Ontario, whose impaired driving laws are in line with B.C. and Alberta, is considering adding demerit points for distracted drivers – now identifying distracted drivers as a greater hazard on the road than their impaired counterparts.
In Alberta, tough new impaired driving laws came into effect this year, and were credited with reducing impaired driving deaths by 46 per cent.
However, analysts point to a consistent drop over the last six years of around 50 per cent, even before the new laws were introduced.
Looking at July to December from 2007 and 2012, impaired driving deaths dropped from 67 to 33. But the drop is gradual, 67-57-52-48-40-33.
More telling, when examining the statistics from the full years from 2006-2011, the drop goes from 117 deaths in 2006 to 66 in 2011. A 43 per cent drop – before the province’s new 0.05 per cent law came into effect. (continued.)
Saskatchewan has proposed new impaired driving laws – laws that Mothers Against Drunk Driving feel do not go far enough.
The proposed changes include increased prohibitions for young drivers, as well as new sanctions for drivers over 0.08 per cent BAC or with high BACs (generally considered to be 0.16 per cent and higher).
Missing from the proposed changes are any measures to address the problem of drivers with BACs in the warn range (0.04 per cent to 0.08 per cent), which the Saskatchewan government's own Special Committee on Traffic Safety specifically recommended.
“By ignoring their own Traffic Safety Committee's recommendation to strengthen warn range sanctions, the government of Saskatchewan is ignoring an important impaired driving countermeasure that would go a long way to reducing crashes, deaths and injuries in this province,” said Louise Twerdy, MADD Canada's Chapter Services Manager for the Western Region.
It has been proven that even small amounts of alcohol can impair driving ability. That is why just about every jurisdiction in Canada has “warn range” sanctions in place to deter people from driving at those levels. Saskatchewan's current 24-hour licence suspension for drivers in the warn range is not an effective deterrent, says MADD.