Given the time and attention being paid to the subject, it’s hard to understand why teen drunk driving is still so common in Canada. Most teens know there are zero tolerance drunk driving laws in place that mean their license would be pulled if they were stopped. Given how well they cover Canada, it would also be unlikely that any high school student had not seen a presentation by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) detailing the dangers of drinking and driving.
If they know how dangerous teen drunk driving is, why are they still doing it? A recent Canadian Student Tobacco, Alcohol, and Drugs Survey didn’t highlight the reason why, but they did detail how often it’s happening.
The study found that one in three high school students had ridden with a driver who had been drinking alcohol, and one in five have admitted to being in a car with someone who has smoked marijuana. This was after surveying over 25,000 kids in every province from grades nine to twelve.
The survey also revealed the following:
- Boys were more likely to be the teen drunk driving than girls, and girls are more likely to have been a passenger in a vehicle where someone was drunk or drugged driving
- Nine percent of Grade eleven and twelve students drove within an hour or drinking or within two hours of smoking marijuana
- Those students who live in remote areas are more likely to drink and drive than kids who live in cities
- Students in Saskatchewan and kids living in the Atlantic provinces have reported the highest rates of drunk and drugged driving, while Alberta and Ontario students were lower
Knowing can be half the battle, but now that this information has been released, what can be done with it? That’s up to law enforcement and lawmakers in each province, and it’s also up to individual high schools and their parents. Whether they use it as a launchpad for larger discussions on the dangers of teen drunk driving or just as something to share with their teen is up to the parent or teacher, but it’s another sobering reminder that there’s a long way to go to stop this from happening.