Canadian Roadside Survey on Alcohol and Drug Use

Executive Summary

Following two decades of progress dealing with alcohol impaired driving, greater attention is now being directed toward the issue of driving while impaired by drugs. Currently, there is far less information related to drug impaired driving than alcohol-impaired driving. This report describes a study on the extent of drug use by drivers. A random survey of drivers was conducted at pre-selected locations in British Columbia from Wednesday to Saturday nights in June 2008. The purpose was to collect information on the prevalence of alcohol and drug use among night time drivers. Those surveyed were asked to provide a voluntary breath sample to measure their alcohol use and an oral fluid sample to be tested subsequently for the presence of drugs. Of the 1,533 vehicles selected, 89% of drivers provided a breath sample and 78% provided a sample of oral fluid.
Key findings include:
• 10.4% of drivers tested positive for drug use
• 8.1% of drivers had been drinking
• 15.5% of drivers tested positive for alcohol, drugs or both
• Cannabis and cocaine were the drugs most frequently detected in drivers
• Alcohol use among drivers was most common on weekends and during late-night hours; drug use was more evenly distributed across all survey nights and times
• Alcohol use was most common among drivers aged 1to 24 and 25 to 34; drug use was more evenly distributed across all age groups
• No drivers aged 16 to 18 were found to have been drinking
• While driving after drinking has decreased substantially since previous surveys, the number of drivers with elevated alcohol levels (over 80 mg%) was higher than in the past

Source: Beirness, D.J., & Beasley, E.E. (2009). Alcohol and Drug Use Among Drivers: British Columbia Roadside Survey 2008. Ottawa, ON: Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse. 2009

Filed under: Canada :

Back to top of page

Powered by WordPress