Ontario, Quebec numbers below average
Though impaired driving rates are climbing across the country, they're falling in the nation's capital, according to new data from Statistics Canada.
The number of impaired driving cases in Ottawa fell 41 percent between 2001 and 2011, to 827 cases two years ago, reports the Ottawa Citizen.
The numerous variables contributing to that drop make it hard to explain, though, admitted Sgt. John Kiss, who handles anti-drunk driving efforts for the Ottawa police.
“The numbers are dropping, yes, but does that mean we’re not as good at catching impaired drivers? Does it mean there are less impaired drivers? Does it mean that we’re too busy to look for impaired drivers?” Kiss told the Citizen.
More significant is the fact the number of accidents and deaths related to impaired driving were down — "that's the bottom line," said Kiss.
Impaired driving cases in 2011 averaged 262 per 100,000 drivers, nationally, though that average was closer to 181 per 100,000 in urban areas; and 436 per 100,000 in rural areas.
Ottawa's rate was 87 impaired driving cases per 100,000 drivers that year, just below Toronto's, at 102, and Winnipeg's, at 109. The worst city for impaired driving was Kelowna, B.C., at 583 impaired driving cases per 100,000 drivers, followed by St. John's, Newfoundlad at 560 per 100,000.
There were a total 90,277 impaired driving cases reported in 2011 in Canada, most for driving under the influence of alcohol, though roughly two percent were for driving while drug-impaired.
Those numbers are two percent higher than they were in 2010, but two percent lower than they were in 2001.
Ontario's 130 impaired driving cases per 100,000 drivers was the lowest rate in the country, and made up for a 28 percent drop in numbers since 2001. Quebec was the only other province to beat the national average, at 211 cases per 100,000.
Men made up 82 percent of impaired drivers, according to Statistics Canada; drivers between 20 and 24 were over-represented as well. Roughly half of impaired drivers were stopped by police between 11 p.m. and 4 a.m.
(Ottawa Citizen via Driving.ca)