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1 in 5 Drink and Drive ?
Written by Blair Carter
1 in 5 drink and drive, poll suggestsAbout one in five Ontario drivers sometimes get behind the wheel even when they believe they drank enough to be impaired, according to a survey released Wednesday by the Canadian Automobile Association.
In the online poll of 600 Ontarians, 18 per cent of respondents said they drove at least once during the past year at a time they thought their alcohol level might have been close to or over the legal limit. Seven per cent said they did it “just once,” 10 per cent said they did it “rarely” and one per cent admitted to doing it “fairly often.”
Overall, 27 per cent said they drove after drinking. Ninety-seven per cent of respondents said it was socially unacceptable to drive after having too much to drink. The CAA said the margin of error for the survey was plus or minus one per cent to 1.5 per cent. The poll results were not a surprise to Carolyn Swinson, Toronto spokesperson for Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
“One of the reasons we’re advocating random breath testing is because we know there’s still a ton of people out there who drive if they’re impaired and don’t get caught,” she said, explaining that under current law, even at a R.I.D.E check, police can only demand a roadside breath sample if they have reasonable grounds to suspect a driver has been drinking.
Under the type of random testing MADD is proposing, she said, officers could demand samples from, for example, the first 20 drivers who show up at a checkpoint. “I don’t think there’s anybody out there who doesn’t know that it’s wrong to drive after you’ve been drinking,” Swinson said. “I think the thought process is that they assume they’re going to get away with it.”Impaired drivers caught at R.I.D.E. checks often tell police they didn’t think they had that much to drink or even admit they didn’t believe they would get caught, said Sgt.
Tim Burrows of the Toronto police’s Traffic Services unit. “A lot of people just don’t care,” Burrows added. “They simply don’t see the ramifications, and — we hear this all the time from people — that the government and the police are infringing on their freedom of being able to have a drink and then go out and drive.” Other people, he said, make the mistake of planning to have just one drink when they should realize they’re quite likely to have more, or they try to do to a “self-assessment” on whether they can drive when their judgment is already impaired by drinking.“Don’t drink and drive. It’s really that simple. If you’re going somewhere and you know the temptation or the desire to have a drink is going to be there, then the car should not be considered in your plans.”
Last year during the holiday season, R.I.D.E. officers stopped 99,850 vehicles, laid 99 drinking and driving charges and issued 269 licence suspensions. from The Star December 9, 2010