Hello, I’m Bill Blair, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness.
This week is National Impaired Driving Prevention Week.
The dangers of impaired driving are well known, as are the tragic and entirely preventable consequences.
It remains a leading cause of criminal death and injury in Canada.
And for survivors and loved ones affected by a vehicle crash, the pain and suffering can last a lifetime.
And yet, year after year, even during this pandemic, too many people continue to make the wrong choice to drive when they’re in no condition to do so.
Whether impaired by alcohol or drug, impaired driving is never ok.
And that’s why awareness weeks like this one can be so important.
And it’s also why the Government of Canada has given police more tools, training and resources to increase detection efforts so that they can catch more drug-impaired drivers in particular.
The most recent figures suggest that this additional support is helping to do just that.
Police-reported drug-impaired driving incidents increased by 43 percent in 2019 compared to the year before.
And we will continue to support enforcement action against impaired drivers.
But the most important thing is to stop people from driving impaired in the first place.
And in that important matter we all have a role to play.
I want to encourage parents to talk to their kids about this, as young drivers are the highest-risk group.
I want to take this opportunity to implore everyone watching: if you’ve been drinking or consuming any drug, if you’re too tired or distracted to focus, make the right choice and do not get behind the wheel of a car.
Take a taxi, use rapid transit or use your favourite ride-hailing app.
You must plan ahead and find other, safer ways to get to your destination.
There have never been more options available to us, so there really is no excuse.
Think of your future, the safety of your passengers and others using the road, and think of the potential impact on those closest to you of the decisions that you make.
For their sake, and for yours, make the right choice and do not drive while impaired.
Thank you very much.