- Alcohol and driving
- Drugs and driving
- Plan ahead
- Designated driver
- A message to friends
- A message to impaired drivers
Driving while under the influence of drugs, alcohol or both:
- is dangerous and illegal;
- could have lifelong consequences to you and those close to you; and
- is never worth the risk.
We conducted a roadside survey in Whitehorse in 2018. The survey measured how many drivers were drinking or using drugs while they were driving on our roads. 22.3 per cent of drivers tested were positive for drugs, alcohol or both.
Make sure a short drive or a bad decision while you're under the influence of drugs or alcohol does not impact your health and livelihood for the rest of your life.
Alcohol and driving
In the Yukon, 5.1 per cent of drivers on the road tested positive for alcohol when we conducted a survey. It's well-known that alcohol-impaired driving is a continuing problem for Yukon road users. Do your part to keep yourself and your loved ones safe.
When you consume alcohol you may experience:
- slowed reaction times;
- difficulty focusing;
- blurred vision; and
- diminished judgement.
Your age, weight, mood, sex, level of fatigue and the food you've eaten that day all play a role in how your body breaks down and processes alcohol.
In the Yukon there's zero tolerance for alcohol and drugs if you hold a Graduated Driver's Licence (GDL). This means you cannot have any alcohol or drugs in your system while you're driving.
Drugs and driving
When we conducted our survey, 17.8 per cent of drivers tested positive for drugs. This is considerably higher than in other Canadian jurisdictions. British Columbia reported 7.4 per cent in 2012 and Ontario reported 10.5 per cent in 2017.
Drugs, including cannabis, can impair your ability to drive safely and will increase your risk of having a collision.
According to the Government of Canada, impaired driving is the leading criminal cause of death and injury in Canada. Drug-impaired driving is increasing. The percentage of Canadian drivers killed who test positive for drugs is now greater than the number who test positive for alcohol.
The effects of cannabis are different for each person and a driver's impairment depends on a variety of factors such as:
- how frequently you use it;
- how recently, how much and how you consumed;
- the level of THC in the cannabis you consumed;
- whether you mixed it with alcohol or other drugs or medications; and
- your body weight, body type, metabolic rate, level of fatigue and whether you've eaten.
There are plenty of justifications you can make for driving impaired and we've heard it all:
- There's no public transportation where I live or at the time I need to go home.
- There's no taxi service in my area.
- I don’t trust taxi or ride share options.
- I don’t want to leave my vehicle over night – it could get stolen or freeze and not start.
- I need my vehicle in the morning to get to work and won’t be able to come back and get it in time.
- I'm only going a few blocks.
- There isn’t any enforcement. I won’t get caught.
- I do it all the time with no problems and I’m a better driver when I am impaired.
- I’m the designated driver but that only means no alcohol, right? I can still have cannabis or other drugs.
- I only had a couple of drinks. I might be buzzed but I’m fine.
- I always consume cannabis and never have any problems. I just drive more carefully.
There is no good excuse to drive a vehicle while you're impaired or to be a passenger in a vehicle with an impaired driver. You always have options.
The best thing you can do to stay safe is to plan ahead.
- Make sure you have a designated driver.
- Plan an emergency way to get home, such as having a friend on call to come and pick you up if your other plans fall through.
- Call a cab or take transit.
- Surround yourself with people you can rely on and trust to get you home safely.
- Look out for your friends and make sure they get home safely.
- Do not let friends drive if they are impaired – help them get home safely.
Whatever the situation, it's never OK to drive impaired.
If you commit to being a designated driver, people’s lives are in your hands. Your friends are depending on you to keep them safe.
Be responsible and do not consume alcohol or drugs of any kind.
Do not allow yourself to get pulled into the peer pressure of "Just have 1 drink. It will be fine".
A message to friends
You may feel you're in a difficult situation if your friend is impaired but still wants to drive. Think about these questions to help you make the right decision to keep them and other people safe.
Do not let family and friends drive if they're impaired
True friends do not let their friends or family drive while they're impaired. Why not? Because you trust your friends to have your back, keep you safe, pull you out of unsafe situations and tell you the hard truth when you need it.
- Why would you let someone drive impaired?
- What if they do not make it home? How would you feel?
- What if they hurt someone else on the way?
- What if they get an impaired driving charge?
- Why would you not protect them and be a true friend?
Reporting someone for impaired driving
It's OK to report someone for impaired driving, even if they're your relative or friend.
A message to impaired drivers
You may feel you're safe to drive even if you've taken drugs or drunk alcohol. Your friends will tell you otherwise. Think about these statements to help you make the right decision to keep yourself and other people safe.
What your friends should tell you
When your friend tries to stop you driving or even calls the cops on you, they're trying to keep you safe. Sometimes the truth is not nice to hear, but it could save your life, your job and your ability to travel. It could also save someone else’s life. Remember they're trying to protect you and be a true friend.