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Teenagers, Drugs, Alcohol and Driving: the facts and Ontario Car Insurance

Jun 9, 2012

Car and auto insurance hikes are often the least of a motorist's problems if convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs. In Ontario, one offense can lead to a car driver’s license being revoked. Then the process of a series of remedial stages and measures must be accomplished before a teenage driver can receive their license, along with skyrocketing Ontario car insurance rates for years.

A recent report from the Canadian Center on Substance Abuse says drug use can be every bit as hazardous to road awareness as alcohol. The report shows that shows that 16.2% of grade 12 students in Ontario admit that they have driven within one hour of smoking pot at least once in the last year. In addition, safety experts at Allstate Canada and MADD Canada point out that the dangers of teen drugging and driving need to be highlighted.

"There seems to be a public perception that drug use doesn't affect drivers to the same extent as drinking," said Doug Beirness, senior research and policy analyst at CCSA. "In fact, many drugs can affect the physical and cognitive processes necessary to operate a vehicle safely, posing a serious risk to the driver and other road users."

They cite a recent Canadian study published in the British Medical Journal which found that teens who drive within three hours of smoking marijuana are twice as likely to be in a car collision.

Motor vehicle car accidents are the leading cause of death for Ontarians between the ages of 12 to 27. Drivers with drugs or alcohol in their blood are seven times more likely to cause a fatal crash; legally drunk drivers pose a risk 13 times greater than sober drivers.

Allstate’s Karen Benner said: “Car collisions are the leading cause of death among Canadian teens.

The study looked into 14,000 driver fatalities and the researchers found that while most of the deaths resulted from the person testing positive for alcohol, almost as many tested positive for drugs, 37 percent to 33 percent respectively.

Drug use and alcohol is often implicated in automobile deaths. According to police reports, at least one driver has been drinking (although not necessarily over the legal blood-alcohol limit) in over 30 percent of fatal crashes. During the time periods in which alcohol usage is greatest, that proportion rises to almost 60 percent.

Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol car drivers (including those not legally drunk) are at least seven times more likely to cause fatal crashes than sober drivers, although sensitivity tests suggest that this lower bound could nontrivially understate the true value. For drivers with BACs greater than 0.10, that ratio is at least 13 to one. A great majority of the victims of drinking drivers are the drivers themselves and their passengers.

 “We’re concerned that many teens don’t know how dangerous driving under the influence of drugs can be. Misconceptions among young drivers may be contributing to the number of injuries and fatalities on the road.”

MADD Canada has produced some resources for parents to help them talk to their teens about the problem.

At, parents can learn more about insurance for their young driver; they can watch a video about the dangers of driving while under the influence of drugs and sign a safe driving contract.

Ontario car insurance regulator, The Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO), regulates over 30 car insurance providers that provide Ontario car insurance quotes to consumers, all of which are in good standing. Recent legislative changes are attempting to prevent ongoing fraud and reduce car insurance costs.

Clean car driving record or not, find your cheapest Ontario car insurance quote here!


<< Will a Driver using another’s car be covered with Ontario car Insurance in an accident?
Ontario Car Insurance proposed changes again to Reduce Benefits for Accident Victims >>

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