Research Papers

A Comparison of Drug- and Alcohol-involved Motor Vehicle Driver Fatalities

Filename Beirness.pdf
Filesize 42 KB
Version 1
Date added June 6, 2010
Downloaded 3 times/fois
Category 2010 CMRSC XX Niagara
Tags Session 1C
Author/Auteur Douglas J. Beirness, Erin E. Beasley


Purpose: This project was designed to complement and extend our previous and ongoing work on drug-impaired driving and enhance the utility of the Drug Evaluation and Classification program. The purposes of the project were to: Compare and contrast the characteristics of fatally injured drivers who test positive for alcohol and those who test positive for psychoactive drugs, and drugs plus alcohol; Compare and contrast the characteristics and circumstances of fatal collisions involving alcohol, drugs, and the combination of alcohol and drugs.
Method: Data from two distinct sources (coroners’ reports and motor vehicle crash records) were linked to compare and contrast the characteristics of fatal collisions involving drivers who have used either alcohol, drugs, or both. The first of these datasets, the Fatality Database, houses information on all drivers killed in motor vehicle collisions in Canada. This database contains the results of alcohol and drug tests performed by coroners on victims of motor vehicle collisions in Canada from 2000 to 2006. These data will be linked with detailed information about the crash contained in the National Collision Database collected and maintained by Transport Canada.
Results: The findings reveal similarities and differences in the circumstances and characteristics of the crashes of drivers who test positive for alcohol and/or drugs. The paper will describe these key factors and outline the implications for prevention and enforcement.
Conclusions: The findings provide greater understanding of the impact of the use of psychoactive substances (both illegal and medicinal) by drivers and provide new knowledge that contributes to the development of prevention efforts to improve overall road safety in Canada. In addition, knowledge of the characteristics of collisions that involve a driver who has used psychoactive will provide enforcement with greater ability to identify drug-involved crashes and take measures to investigate and prosecute those responsible.

[Oral presentation only]

Douglas J. Beirness, Erin E. Beasley