DAILY NEWS Jan 10, 2013 2:56 PM - 1 comment

Impaired driving charges up, jail sentences down: StatsCan

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There were more than 90,000 impaired driving incidents in Canada in 2011, about 3,000 more than the previous year, Statistics Canada reported Thursday in an analysis of its latest figures, but fewer of those people charged went to jail. 

Drinking“The rate of impaired driving was 262 per 100,000 population, 2% higher than in 2010 and the fourth increase in five years,”StatsCan stated in an article on its websites.

Until 2007, the impaired driving rate in Canada had been steadily declining since the 1980s, the agency noted.

In 2011, impaired driving-related deaths, however, were the lowest in 25 years. During the year, police reported 121 incidents of impaired driving causing death, and 839 causing bodily harm, StatsCan said.

Fewer impaired drivers, however, went to jail in 2011. “Fewer than 1 in 10 (8%) impaired driving cases with a finding of guilt resulted in a prison sentence in 2010/2011, lower than the 14% sentenced to prison a decade earlier,” the department said. “The median prison sentence length has remained stable at around 30 days over the past decade.”

Impaired driving rates were highest among young adults between ages 20 and 24 in 2011. Drivers under 35 accounted for about one-third of licensed drivers in 2011, but two-thirds of those accused of impaired driving causing death or injury, the department said.

Males were also most commonly charged with impaired driving, representing 82% of all charges. The rate for males has been declining over the past 25 years, though, StatsCan said.

On a provincial level, Ontario and Quebec had the lowest rate of impaired driving charges, while Saskatchewan and Prince Edward Island had the highest.  

“Since 2006, most provinces have seen increases, with the largest having occurred in Newfoundland and Labrador,” StatsCan said. “However, impaired driving rates have declined slightly in both Ontario and Quebec over the past five years. Rates in Nunavut and the Northwest Territories for 2011 were also lower than in 2006.”

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