POLICE ASSOCIATION OF NOVA SCOTIA 79 (...A Hard Nut to Crack continued) An Evaluation of the Alberta Administrative Licence Suspension Program released in August 2005 found a 24 per cent drop in the number of repeat impaired drivers and a 19 per cent reduction in the number of repeat offenders involved in alcohol-related collisions that cause injury or death. The study also found there was a drop in the percentage of fatal collisions that involved drinking drivers, from 23 per cent before the licence suspension program came into effect to 19 per cent afterward. The alcohol ignition interlock is a small breath-testing unit installed under the dash and linked to the vehicle's ignition system. To operate the vehicle, the driver must provide a breath sample. The Criminal Code of Canada allows reduction of the mandatory driving suspension for a first offence from one year to three months if the offender participates in an interlock program for the remainder of the one-year period. The device is installed at the offender's expense. Interlock programs reduce recidivism by as much as 90 per cent while the device is in the vehicle. Used in conjunction with rehabilitation they are proving to be a very effective countermeasure. In 2003, road crashes involving a driver who had been drinking killed 902 people. This is down 30 percent from 1995, when there were 1,296 motor vehicle deaths involving a drinking driver - despite an 11 percent increase in the number of licensed drivers. Of the drinking-driving road fatalities, half (450) were drivers whose blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was over 0.08 - not innocent victims by anyone's definition. Many of these were in the hard core group. In sharp contrast to Canada's progress, the number of impaired driving fatalities has not changed since 1994 in the United States. The fact fewer Canadians are being killed in crashes involving alcohol is encouraging, but we can't let our guard down. Drunk driving still causes far too many unnecessary and preventable tragedies on our roads. The hard core drinking driver is the biggest challenge to further progress. Updated January 2006 © 2006 Canada Safety Council DRINKING and then DRIVING KILLS