Montréal, April 11, 2012 – Éduc’alcool welcomes the coming into force on April 15, 2012, of the provision in Bill 71 prohibiting young people under age 22 from driving with any amount of alcohol in their blood. The organization says this new measure is justified from both the statistical and scientific standpoints.
The numbers speak for themselves: young people are greatly overrepresented in road accidents. Though comprising only 10% of drivers, they account for more than one-quarter of all accidents. This is far too many. “These accidents are not due just to their lack of experience; their behaviour behind the wheel also plays a role,” Éduc’alcool Director General Hubert Sacy stated.
“In addition, recent scientific discoveries in the field of neuroscience show that up to age 24 the area of the brain responsible for foreseeing, anticipating consequences and exercising judgment is still growing, while the area where thrill-seeking is felt is already well developed,” Sacy continued. “This contributes to the risk factors.”
Age: an undeniable risk factor
This hardly means that only young people, or that all young people, are irresponsible. “Not all young people should be put in the same basket,” Hubert Sacy stressed. “However, scientific findings and conclusive data must be taken into account. Being young is a risk factor in itself. This is undeniable.”
Society needs to know where to draw the line in the common interest. “After all, driving isn’t allowed under age 16, and buying alcohol or voting are not permitted before age 18,” the spokesman of Éduc’alcool added.
Reinforcing the public perception that impaired driving will get you arrested
Another very basic fact cannot be stressed enough: for a law to be effective, it must be enforced.
In Québec, there is a widely held perception that the law can be broken with impunity. The data on this are irrefutable. Until Quebecers are convinced that they will be arrested if they drive while impaired, no law or regulation will stand a chance.
“It is essential that police presence on the roads be stepped up and that our roadside testing be increased significantly and dramatically in order to reinforce the public perception that we’re taking real risks by driving impaired. It’s the only way to make a genuine difference in drivers’ behaviour, and it’s vital for improving our road safety record,” Hubert Sacy said.
“We must be unrelenting in our education and awareness work,” he added as he released the latest edition of the guide Drinking, Driving, Making the Right Choice, distributed by Éduc’alcool in all Québec driving schools.
Attached: Drinking, Driving, Making the Right Choice, an Éduc’alcool publication available at all driving schools in Québec as well as here
Information and interviews:
Rosalie Bergeron, TACT Intelligence-conseil
418 523-3223, ext. 23