Health Topics

Impaired Driving

Impaired driving refers to operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. Both alcohol and drugs (illegal and prescription or over-the-counter medication) can result in impaired driving.

Even a small amount of alcohol and/or drugs can:

  • Effect your ability to react to things
  • Decrease your coordination
  • Impact your vision (by causing blurred, double vision and/or sleepiness)
  • Impair your attention

Impacts of impaired driving

It is both illegal and dangerous to drive impaired:

  • Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among young people (16 to 25 year olds). Alcohol and/or drug impairment is a factor in 55% of those crashes. Source: MADD
  • Over one third of Canadian car accidents with fatally injured drivers involved alcohol. Source: MADD
  • Driving under the influence of cannabis doubles the risk of collision. Source: CCSA
  • Combining cannabis with even small amounts of alcohol greatly increases levels of impairment and risk of vehicle accident. Source: CAMH
  • Studies of road accidents suggest that drivers who test positive for opioids are up to eight times more likely to be involved in a motor vehicle crash. Source: CCSA
  • The problem of drug impaired driving is increasing. More Canadians who are fatally injured in a vehicle crash test positive for drugs (40.0%) than for alcohol (33%). Source: CCSA