Youth Services - Statistics & Links
Youth and Impaired Driving
Road crashes continue to be leading cause of death among teenagers.
The statistics for motor vehicle crashes and alcohol-related crashes among young drivers are alarming.
- Young people have the highest rates of traffic death and injury per capita among all age groups and the highest death rate per kilometer driven among all drivers under 75 years of age. More 19-year-olds die or are seriously injured than any other age group.
- Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among 16 to 25 year olds, and alcohol and/or drugs are a factor in 55% of those crashes.
- 16-25 year olds constituted 13.7% of the population in 2009, but made up almost 31.1 % of the alcohol-related traffic deaths.
Studies conclude that young drivers are over-represented in road crashes for two primary reasons: inexperience and immaturity. Although young people are the least likely to drive impaired, the ones who do are at very high risk of collision.
For more information, please see Youth and Impaired Driving: Opportunities for Progress.
Characteristics of the Drinking and Driving Problem Among Youth
- Older Teens: Of all the young drinking drivers who are killed or seriously injured, the smallest proportion is 16 years of age. The largest proportion is 19 years of age.
- Males: Account for 87% of the young fatally injured drinking drivers and 89% of the seriously injured drinking drivers.
- Summertime: Young drinking drivers are most likely to be killed or injured in the summer (32.4% and 40.8% respectively) and least likely to be killed or injured in the winter (8% and 11.4% respectively).
- Weekend: A large percentage of young drinking drivers die or are seriously injured on the weekend.
- Night time: The vast majority of young drinking drivers die or are seriously injured in crashes at night.
- Automobiles: Most young drinking drivers are killed or seriously injured when driving an automobile.
- Single-vehicle: Young drinking drivers are most likely to be involved in single-vehicle crashes.
- At fault: In nearly two-thirds of the alcohol-related multiple vehicle crashes, it was the fatally injured teen driver who had been drinking and not the other drivers.
- Crashes: By the time a driver reaches a blood alcohol content of .10%, he or she is 51 times more likely than a non-drinking driver to be involved in a fatal crash.
Graduated Licensing Programs and .00% BAC Requirements for Young Drivers
Most provinces and territories in Canada have some form of graduated licensing program (GLP) for young and beginning drivers. These programs are designed to give new and young drivers an opportunity to gain driving experience while limiting known risks. They typically include a zero blood alcohol content requirement, as well as night-time and highway driving restrictions and a limit on passenger numbers.
In recognition of the heightened dangers alcohol poses to young drivers, many provinces have introduced, or are considering, longer zero BAC requirements. (MADD Canada recommends an extension up to age 21.) This requirement remains in effect until the stated age, regardless of when the young driver completes the GLP.
Young drivers are already disadvantaged due to their inexperience, and they should not have their judgment impaired by alcohol. They tend to be risk takers and are less cautious than their older counterparts, so, even in the absence of alcohol, they are at greater risk of crash than older, more experienced drivers. And when alcohol is added, young drivers are at far greater risk of death than their older driving counterparts with comparable BACS.
The .00% BAC restriction has been shown to reduce impaired driving and crashes among young drivers. A study of Ontario’s .00% BAC restriction showed a 25% reduction in the number of Grade 11 and Grade 12 males who reported driving after drinking.
For more information, see
- Rating the Provinces and Territories: The 2009 Report
- MADD Canada Model 2009
- Youth and Impaired Driving: Opportunities for Progress.
Project Gearshift - A campaign designed to drive change in Canada around teen driver safety.
Xperiment.ca - Your site to get the real deal on drugs
Impaired Driving - Ontario Government web site on the consequences of driving impaired
DrugsNot4Me – Drug facts, risks, get help and use your voice
Drinkingfacts.ca - A great resource on everything alcohol-related
www.camh.net - Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
www.osaid.org - Ontario Students Against Impaired Driving
www.saddalberta.com - The Students Against Drinking and Driving Association of Alberta - Information on this year's CYAID conference can also be found here
www.saddsask.ca - Students Against Drinking Driving - Saskatchewan
www.madd.org - MADD USA
www.teensnowtalk.com - Teens Now Talk Magazine Inc.
www.whatswithweed.ca - A really informative website on all things marijuana
www.parentactionondrugs.org - A great website for drug-related resources
www.ofifc.org - Ontario Federation of Indian Friendship Centres
www.nationalantidrugstrategy.gc.ca - Youth drug prevention for parents and national anti drug strategy
www.virtual-party.org - The virtual-party is written by a group of young people. Make some choices and pick up some pointers on how to keep the harm out of your party-style
Canadadrugfree.ca – A site dedicated to reducing the trial of illicit drugs and misuse of prescription drugs by youth in Canada.
Parent Action Pack- Talking points and conversations with your teen