Impaired driving is the #1 criminal cause of death in Canada, and the #1 cause of death of Canadian youth!
MADD works in partnership with many groups, and organizations to help change the attitudes and behaviours of Canadians pertaining to the ramifications and total overall cost of impaired driving, and the consequences resulting from citizens that chose to break the law . As an organization, we compile data from Canada and the rest of the world. MADD Canada annually compares the effectiveness of each province’s battle against impaired driving (including the territories) as the statistical data becomes available. The ratings are compared, and observe any amendments to local Highway and traffic legistations regarding penalties, enforcement, and programs in place to deter the incidence of persons driving while impaired by either alcohol and prescription and recreational drug usage.
The Magnitude of the Alcohol/Drug-Related Crash Problem in Canada: Overview
MADD Canada has adopted a comprehensive approach in assessing the impairment-related (alcohol/drugs) crash problem in Canada. MADD Canada has attempted to obtain a complete picture which encompasses: alcohol and drugs; all types of vehicles and vessels; the full range of harms and losses (fatalities, injuries, property damage, and their social costs); and crashes that occur on public and private roads and property, and on the water. This broad approach is mandated by MADD Canada’s mission, which is to assist all victims of impaired crashes and to reduce the total number of fatalities, injuries, and property damage crashes.
Other organizations and government agencies also publish reports on impairment-related crashes in Canada. Their data often differ from MADD Canada’s, because they have defined their terms of reference more narrowly. For example, their fatality statistics may be limited to alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes occurring on public roads. Similarly, their injury data may be limited to injuries that require a hospital admission, and crashes that the police attend and for which they write a formal report. Simply because their data differ from those of MADD Canada does not mean that their data are inaccurate. Rather, these differences reflect their more limited scope of inquiry.
In 2010, it was estimated that 2,541 individuals were killed in motor vehicle crashes in Canada. MADD Canada estimates that at a minimum 1,082 of these fatalities were impairment-related. In MADD Canada’s opinion, the 1,082 figure is a conservative estimate, due to the underreporting that results from the inability to conduct alcohol tests on surviving impaired drivers and from the need to rely on police reports. Moreover, the figure underestimates the percentage of crash deaths that involve drugs. Thus, the recent sharp increases in driving after drug use have not been factored into the 1,082 figure.
As well, the 1,082 figure does not include individuals killed in impaired crashes on the waterways. It was estimated that there was an average of 135 boating deaths per year from 2006 to 2008 and it appears that more than 50% of these boating deaths involved alcohol and/or drugs. Nor does the 1,082 figure include fatalities arising from aircraft, trains and industrial vehicles such as forklifts.
Given the limits on the 1,082 figure, MADD Canada estimates there are somewhere between 1,250 and 1,500 impairment-related crash deaths in Canada each year (3.4– 4.1 deaths per day).
In 2010, it was estimated that about 299,838 individuals were injured in motor vehicle crashes. MADD Canada estimates that approximately 63,821 of these individuals were injured in impairment-related crashes (roughly 175 per day). Note that this figure is limited to motor vehicle crashes only.
In 2010, it was estimated that approximately 1,651,650 motor vehicles were involved in property damage-only crashes in Canada. MADD Canada estimates that approximately 210,932 of these vehicles were damaged in impairment-related crashes (roughly 578 per day).
Estimated Cost of Impaired Driving Crashes
Using a social cost model, impairment-related driving deaths, injuries and property damage-only crashes in Canada can be estimated to have cost $20.62 billion in 2010. This model is recent, is based on extensive analysis, and was prepared for the federal Ministry of Transportation. This figure is also limited to motor vehicle crashes.
Sources for the Data
The estimates for impaired driving used in this document are explained in a report entitled “Estimating the Number and Cost of Impairment-Related Traffic Crashes in Canada: 1999 to 2010” by Professors Stephen G.A. Pitel and Robert Solomon, both of Western University. That report is based in part on G. Mercer & M. Marshall, “Estimating the Presence of Alcohol and Drug Impairment in Traffic Crashes and their Cost to Canadians: A Discussion Paper” (Vancouver: ARES, December 2002) and G. Mercer, “Estimating the Presence of Alcohol and Drug Impairment in Traffic Crashes and their Costs to Canadians: 1999 to 2006” (Vancouver: ARES, 2009).
[Revised April 2013]
- For additional statistics, please see Estimating the Number and Cost of Impairment-Related Traffic Crashes in Canada: 1999 – 2010. Includes Provincial statistics. (PDF)
- For more information on the rate of impaired driving in Canada, please see our Resource Library.
- The 2015 MADD Canada Provincial and Territorial Review (PDF)
- The 2012 MADD Canada Provincial and Territorial Review (PDF)
Other sites of interest
- MADD Canada Resource and Publication Web Page
- Manitoba’s Tough Stance on Drinking and Driving – What Does it Mean to You? – Manitoba Department of Justice
- Manitoba Public Insurance Corporation – MPI
- Winnipeg Police Service
- Ontario’s Drive Sober / Drive Alive group
- Families for Justice – Canadian Victims DEMANDING CHANGE!
- MPI Traffic Collision Stats Reports 2014 , 2013 , 2012 (PDF)
- Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse
- MANITOBA’S STRATEGY TO REDUCE ALCOHOL-RELATED HARMS