If you were someone who passed and enforced Canadian drunk driving laws, you’d probably cringe a little when Statistics Canada released their latest police-reported crime statistics. Every year they compile the statistics for the year before, and it’s eye-opening for provinces who have serious impaired driving problems like Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta.
But according the latest report released by Statistics Canada for 2016, Alberta may be on the cusp of turning things around. If you take a look at the data, it looks like Alberta’s number of police-reported cases of impaired driving are dropping.
Take Edmonton’s stats for example: in 2009 there were 4,223 impaired driving arrests, while in 2016 there were only 2,812. Other yearly comparisons for Alberta from the Statistics Canada report include:
- In 2009 there were 17,051 incidents involving impaired driving, while in 2016 there were 12,191
- The number of impaired driving arrests for teens between the ages of 12 and 17 was 142 in 2009, but 2016 saw that number drop to 64
Alberta is definitely seeing a drop in drunk driving rates, but if you compare it to Saskatchewan you’ll see that the province’s impaired driving incident rate is still on the high side. Saskatchewan had 6,299 impaired driving incidents in 2009, much less than Alberta, but instead of seeing a decline that number has actually increased to 6,377 in 2016.
There are a lot of different reasons why Alberta and Saskatchewan are seeing variations in their data. One could be the provincial and Canadian drunk driving laws have toughed up by adding ignition interlock penalties for these and other provinces. Another could be that fewer people are getting arrested, not because they aren’t driving drunk, but because fewer people are getting caught.
Stats like these are great motivation for provinces like Alberta and Saskatchewan to pull out the stops and see how they can drop their impaired driving rates even further. With ignition interlocks available for all offenders in both provinces, they finally have a tool at their disposal that will help them finally see the end of drunk driving.