Increase in NS Traffic Deaths in 2012: What can we do?
Huge Increase in Traffic Fatalities
2012 was not a good year for Nova Scotia motor vehicle accidents with eighty-two (82) road fatalities. In fact, 2012 bucked the trend of a steady decline in motor vehicle fatalities that has been ongoing since 2007. Compare the 2012 numbers to those in 2011 when there were only sixty-five (65) people killed on the road. That's a 21% increase!
Back in July of 2012, I voiced my concerns about the cause of the rising trend of fatal accidents on Nova Scotia roads: Increase in Nova Scotia Traffic Fatalities: Is Distracted Driving to Blame?
At that point the RCMP attributed the increase in fatalities to four (4) major contributors:
Aggressive driving; and
Unfortunately 2012, like every previous year, was plagued with several fatalities attributed to impaired driving. Driving while intoxicated can be easily avoided. But despite increased criminal penalties there are still some people who, either unintentionally or intentionally, continue to drink and drive!
Drunk Driving Myths
The Nova Scotia government website has a section discussing Myths about impaired driving. I thought a few of them were worth highlighting.
Myth: Having a high tolerance means I can drink and drive without being impaired.
Fact: This is absolutely NOT correct. Any amount of alcohol can impair your ability to drive. Even if you are below the legal limit (0.08 B.A.C.) you can still be impaired and could face criminal consequences.
Myth: I can drink beer, just not liquor.
Fact: Alcohol is alcohol is alcohol. While beer certainly has less alcohol in it than, say, straight rum – it has approximately the same amount of alcohol as a mixed rum and coke.
Myth: You can only be charged with impaired driving if you consumed alcohol.
Fact: Wrong. Alcohol is only one type of drug that can impair your ability to operate a motor vehicle. You can be criminally charged if you operate a motor vehicle while impaired by any other drug, even if you were in legal possession of the drug.
Think about it
Taking a taxi is too expensive? Designating a driver or taking public transport is too inconvenient? Not compared to the legal fees, court time, and consequences of driving while intoxicated.
The average cost for a person charged and convicted of an impaired driving offence is approximately $32,000.00. This includes legal fees, fines and increased insurance premiums. This does not include the inconvenience of court dates and meeting with your lawyers. Nor does it include the shame of facing those affected by your decisions.
Finally, if you are in an accident, you may not be hurt. But you could injure or kill another person. The burden of carrying that around for the rest of your life is just not worth the cost.
2012 was not a good year for road fatalities in Nova Scotia, but let’s not dwell on the past. Let’s re-start the clock on road-fatalities and set a record low in 2013.