There is a common misconception about drunk driving crashes that’s been hard to dispel: the idea that the ones who die in a crash are usually the drunk drivers themselves. According to Ontario impaired driving statistics, that’s just not true.
Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) have released new statistics on drunk driving crashes in the province. They’ve discovered that more than half of the people who died in alcohol or drug-related crashes are innocent victims; people who are not drunk and did not cause the collision they died in.
The OPP found that 987 people died in alcohol and drug-related crashes since 2003. Just this year 19 people out of 37 who died were blameless for the crash that claimed their lives. That means they were innocently driving or were a passenger being driven somewhere, and a drunk driver ended their lives.
This is the fourth year in a row that Ontario victims have died more frequently than Ontario drunk drivers, and that’s something Ontario police want to change. They’d like to use this season’s R.I.D.E. program to let the public know that they should always report Ontario impaired driving when you spot it.
If you see someone and they are driving erratically, weaving in and out of lanes, or slamming on the brakes frequently, you should pick up the phone and dial 911. What can happen if you don’t report a drunk driver? Because these drivers are driving with impaired vision, impaired coordination, and problematic judgement, it’s more likely than not that they’ll crash into another vehicle. That car you don’t report could drive on and a few minutes later, injure or kill another driver.
It’s all too easy to turn a blind eye to your friend when they’ve had a few drinks or to a family member who says they’re fine to drive. It’s not easy to take their keys away or trying to convince someone they should find a designated driver. But if you do manage to stop them you’ll know you could save an innocent life, and that’s worth every effort.