Statistics Canada released police-reported crime statistics for 2016 on Monday, which included a look at impaired driving numbers.

Over the last 10 years, the number of police-reported cases of impaired driving appears to be trending downward in Alberta. Province-wide, there were 12,191 incidents last year.

In Edmonton, there was a peak of 4,223 incidents in 2009. In 2016, there were 2,812 cases recorded.

“It’s definitely a positive. It’s a step in the right direction,” said Kim Thomas, whose son Brandon was killed by an impaired driver in 2012 near Cochrane, northwest of Calgary.

Still, she wonders if there are actually fewer impaired people getting behind the wheel or if other factors are making the numbers lower.

“I don’t know if that means less people have been caught or if the prosecutors are less willing to prosecute it as an impaired driving charge.”

Four cases of impaired driving causing death were recorded in Alberta’s capital last year, but there is no overarching trend. Twenty cases of impaired driving causing death were recorded across Alberta in 2016, tying for the lowest number in a decade.

“If you talk to families that have lost someone to impaired driving, even one is too many,” Thomas said, her voice breaking.

 “I believe that our younger generation, our children growing up now and the teenagers, that they are starting to get it,” said Sheri Arsenault, whose son Bradley was killed, along with two friends, in 2011 by an impaired driver outside Beaumont.

“I’m still a little bit worried about people a bit older, [who] have been doing it for years, and feel like they always make it home.”

Arsenault has spent the last several years pushing for harsher penalties for those guilty of impaired driving causing death.

Ottawa’s Bill C-46 calls for tougher penalties and random breath testing. The bill is meant to address both alcohol and drug impairment and should become law by next summer.

Across the country, police reported nearly 70,500 alcohol or drug-impaired driving incidents in 2016, about 1,400 fewer than the year before, according to Statistics Canada. That means the rate of impaired driving decreased by three per cent last year, representing the fifth consecutive year of declines.

Almost all police-reported impaired driving incidents continued to involve alcohol in 2016 (96 per cent), while a small proportion (four per cent) involved drugs.

The number and rate for almost all drug-impaired driving violations increased in 2016, Statistics Canada reported.

There were 3,098 drug-impaired driving violations in 2016, 343 more than the previous year, representing an 11 per cent increase in the rate for drug-impaired driving.

Source: Global News


Last updated on: 2017-08-31 | Link to this post