McGuinty Gvmnt For Sober Driving Over Canada Day Long Weekend

Reminder To Motorists To Buckle Up, Drive Safely

QUEEN’S PARK, ON, June 29  -- Transportation Minister Donna Cansfield today urged motorists to start the summer off on the right foot by driving safely and responsibly during the Canada Day long weekend and throughout the season. “The Canada Day long weekend is one of the busiest times of the year on the highway as more people travel to spend time with family and friends,” said Cansfield. “It can also be one of the most dangerous. On average, 87 people are killed or injured in drinking and driving collisions in Ontario on this weekend alone.” The statistics are sobering. While fatal drunk driving crashes are down 35 per cent over the past ten years, drinking is still a factor in about a quarter of all fatal crashes in Ontario.

In 2003, close to 40 per cent of all drinking and driving fatalities happened between May and August. More than three times as many people were killed in drinking and driving collisions on July 1 as there were on New Year’s Eve. With an estimated 100,000 campers and 70,000 cottage owners traveling across Ontario this weekend, drivers should also make sure their vehicles and loads are secure and check road construction information and traffic reports before heading out. “Ontario has the safest roads in North America, and this government is committed to sending the message out to keep our roads as safe as possible,” said Cansfield. “Our message is simple: be prepared, alert and sober, and make sure that everyone in your vehicle is buckled up.” Ontario has some of the toughest anti-drinking-and-driving laws in the country. A drunk driving conviction costs almost $20,000. The Ontario government is working closely with police and other road safety groups to raise awareness about the dangers and costs of driving while impaired.

Karen Dunham, MADD Canada’s national president said, “We hope this Canada Day weekend is fatality-free and urge Ontarians not to drive when impaired by alcohol or drugs. Also, don’t get into a vehicle -- a car, boat or ATV -- with a person who is impaired. Enjoy a safe and sober weekend on the roads and waterways by separating the activities of drinking and driving.” “New legislation that treats drinking and operating a boat in much the same way as drinking and driving was also passed by the legislature June 22, 2006,” added Cansfield. “Impaired operation of any vehicle is a concern for everyone and this legislation represents one more step towards ensuring Ontario’s roads are safe.”

29 June 2008