Canada pays some of the highest auto insurance premiums out there, and if the results of a recently published report are to be believed, there is a good reason why.
A study recently conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that Canada topped the list of wealthy countries in the percentage of road fatalities related to alcohol impairment.
In order of percentage of motor vehicle deaths related to alcohol impairment, the top high-income countries are:
- Canada – 34%
- U.S. – 31%
- New Zealand – 31%
- Australia – 30%
- Slovenia – 30%
- France – 29%
- Belgium – 25%
- Finland – 22%
- Sweden – 19%
- Netherlands – 19%
The eye-opening results of the report could bring attention to the country’s driving regulations on driving under the influence, which Western University professor of law and Mothers Against Drunk Driving national legal director Robert Solomon described as "the dumbest impaired-driving laws on the face of the planet."
"I find it somewhat sad that it takes a study by the CDC to get the attention of the Canadian public," Solomon told The Star
"We've been telling the federal government and the provinces for 20 years that Canada has one of the world's worst records among developed countries in terms of alcohol-related crash deaths. It drives me crazy. As long as they die in ones and twos no one seems to care. It's apathy, apathy, apathy, crisis."
Solomon noted that there have been improvements in provincial driving laws to promote safe driving conditions—graduated licensing, programs for young drivers, zero blood-alcohol content for drivers until age 21, and enhanced administrative licence suspension, among other things.
On the other hand, he pointed out that Canada fell short of passing two legislative reforms that other developed countries have implemented in recent decades which have produced remarkable results in cutting down alcohol-impairment-related accidents.
The first reform involves lowering the criminally-permissible blood-alcohol level to .05 from .08. Solomon detailed that at .05, an individual’s driving skills are already significantly impaired. According to him, every jurisdiction that adopted the measure saw drinking-and-driving rates lower, as well as alcohol-related crash fatalities and injuries.
The other drunk driving law reform that Canada lacks is the implementation of mandatory breath-screening. Currently, law officers can pull over drivers at any time to ask for ownership, licence and insurance. Officers, however, cannot ask for a breath sample without reasonable grounds to suspect that a driver has been drinking.
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