Stéphane Maurais, General Director at Alco Prevention Canada, interviewed with the Montreal Gazette—the only English-speaking newspaper published in Montreal, Quebec—on March 7th, 2016 to discuss current drink-driving statistics released by Alcohol Countermeasure Systems (ACS). ACS, parent company to Alco Prevention Canada and ALCOLOCK, has one common goal: To promote road safety through industry-leading breath alcohol testing technology.
Maurais recalls his university days, watching his friends knockback several beers or the better half of a wine bottle, get behind the wheel and say, “I’m okay to drive.” Maurais knew otherwise.
“Drivers overestimate their ability to judge their sobriety, but that shouldn’t be the case,” noted Chris Wilson, Director of Alcohol Test Products at ACS, in the recent survey.
Maurais noted when breathalyzers are available at company Christmas parties, reports sometimes show 40% of guests being over the legal limit of .08 and a staggering 50% of those guests feeling they were okay to drive had it not been for Maurais’ company’s presence to convince people otherwise. Between 2009 and 2013, impaired driving claimed 160 lives on Quebec’s roads with 36% of those drivers containing a blood alcohol level greater than the legal limit. In 2013, 41% of road deaths resulted from drink-driving, the majority of these drivers contained a blood alcohol level almost double the legal limit.
Canadians surveyed in February, 2016 noted one-third of drivers confirmed they drove under the influence of alcohol, unaware of their Blood Alcohol Content (BAC). More than a quarter confirmed they were certain they drove while over the legal limit. Two-thirds also reported stopping a loved one from getting behind the wheel while under the influence of alcohol.
“It’s no surprise that these attitudes worry Canadians,” notes Wilson.
Angeliki Souranis, national present of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) shared a story of her son Craig who died in a drink-driving accident. As she spreads her story to protect others and keep her son’s name alive, she sees drink-driving as completely preventable and notes MADD takes a positive position on breathalyzers and alcohol interlocks, seeing them as a resource in the prevention of drink-driving.
Maurais noted, “Practices and mentalities evolve. Consider seatbelts, a couple of generations ago, nobody wore them. People are more prepared to take breathalyzers tests [today] than they once were.”
Understanding the consumption of alcohol and drugs is a risk factor that impacts directly and negatively on driving conditions. It is recommended that impacted companies establish in their internal regulations or road safety policy, a control model of consumption alcohol and hallucinogenic substances. It is important in defining the control model, which should take into account the laws related to this issue.