A Fast Drive Towards Impaired City

By: Shakailah Allison

"The implications from impaired driving is endless." - Kathy Mitchell

COVID-19’s pandemic lockdown left a lot of Canadians unsure of what to do. Many places were closed to help prevent the spread of the virus. Only essential services were allowed to remain open including the liquor store, LCBO. Many people were outraged and confused why a liquor store was an essential service and what its effect will do to those in lockdown.

Fig. 2: LCBO News Column on wesbite.
Fig. 2: LCBO News Column on wesbite.

Many people have resorted to binge drinking to pass the time. There is an issue in that, but the bigger problem came when the roads were empty and people started to drink and drive. According to MADD, a driver with a 0.10% blood alcohol concentration is 51 times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than a non-drinking driver. On average 4 Canadians are killed and 175 are injured in impairment-related crashes.

Spirit Sales are an important revenue for the Canadian provincial and federal government. Contrasting March 2019 when the pandemic began to March 2020 a year after, we can see significant growth across provinces in Spirit sales. The province of Ontario shows a giant increase of $200,000 dollars in sales for 2020.

**The number of impaired crashes for 2018 and 2019 is currently estimated due to a backlog.

Impaired driving does not only include drinking but anything that puts you under the influence, including cannabis. The legal blood alcohol concentration limit is 0.08%. Young drivers starting at grade 10 and basically until you choose to stop driving can be a part of impaired driving. In general, under no circumstance should you be operating a vehicle while you are impaired. The Traffic Injury Research Foundation reported 16.4% of alcohol-positive drivers that were killed in these accidents had blood alcohol concentrations more than twice the legal limit. Impaired driving accidents can also happen anywhere, though it is most common in city areas.

Courtesy: Toronto.com
Courtesy: Toronto.com

Kathy Mitchell is the President of MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) York Region. Mitchell answered a couple of questions on how families are affected by impaired driving. She explains that each family faces a tragedy differently and even relates it to herself. Losing her niece to an impaired driver is another reason why she wants to emphasize the consequences of impaired driving. The Ministry of Transportation says that 85% of Ontario drivers are drug and alcohol-free but 52% of drivers who die in collisions had drugs and/or alcohol in their system.

"Impaired driving can be avoided by planning ahead before you drink or use drugs." - Kathy Mitchell

Courtesy: Global News

With COVID-19, the court system is backed up. Many cases of impaired driving are being resolved with light sentences. President of MADD Canada Andrew Murie explains that this was the only way possible to convict those who did impaired driving. As the province plans to re-open, the question is how Ontario will combat future impaired driving.

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