45 Deaths that Didn't Occur

Keys and DrinkI'm no stranger to death by automobile. It was never a pleasure to investigate fatalities and for me there was no satisfaction in the successful prosecution of the impaired driver that caused them. Many more people than the direct victims were hurt and I knew that the only way I could really contribute was to hunt down the impaired driver and stop them.

Today's press release in relation to the first year of the Immediate Roadside Prohibition (IRP) program refers to 45 deaths that didn't happen on BC's highways during that time. However, turn it around and look at the 71 that did if we accept the average of the past five years. We've still got a long way to go.

I maintain a collision counter on my DriveSmartBC web site that ticks upward each day based on the totals for the last year's collision statistics published by ICBC. Today it shows 115 alcohol related collision deaths and 2511 alcohol related collision injuries. We are very fortunate that the totals may now be overstating the problem.

So, to those that subscribe to the philosophy that drinking means not driving and driving means not drinking and to the officers that are continuing the hunt, you have my respect and encouragement. For those of you who haven't learned yet, I hope you don't hurt anyone before you realize that wisdom. It shouldn't be possible for police to catch 15,401 "fail" drivers during year, but experience tells me it is still a small part of the real total.

Reference Links:

BC Government Press Release - B.C.’s tough impaired laws: one year, 45 lives saved

Good morning y'all!   I know Tim is probably slapping is forehead and saying....."oh oh, this guy again!"

    I am stoked that the deaths caused by alcohol has dropped, who in their right mind wouldn't be?  But I think statistics are "manipulated" slightly, and other factors occured  to inflate the success of the new drinking and driving laws.  Let me explain, and please.....correct me if I'm looking at this wrong.

   Firstly, I look at the statistics from the BC Coronors report regarding alcohol "only" related deaths in motor vehicle accidents.  I cannot find the statistics for 2010, but they are as follows:

2006 - 86

2007 - 96

2008 - 83

2009 - 69

   That is an average of 83 deaths per year related to alcohol over the past 4 years, pre-new law era.  Much different than what the government is saying, 113 average over the past 5 years, as they are using statistics involving alcohol AND drugs.  I know, drugs and driving are both considered impaired...but the whole issue with these new laws involve techniques and equipment designed to detect alcohol.  By using the figures above, there was a 22% drop in the alcohol caused motor vehicle deaths, almost half of what the government is saying right now.   Also, is it actually fair to compare one years worth of statistics to and average of 5?  I'm not sure if statiticians would agree to that.  Look at 2009, there was only 69 deaths that year.....and we didn't have the new stringent laws!   We all know too, that statistics can be made to say anything......like I just did! :D

    Secondly, how many of these deaths were prevented by the increased police presence on the road, looking specifically for drunk drivers?  I would love to see the stats on how many vehicles were "checked" in the year before Oct 1, 2010 as compared to the year following Oct 1.  How many of those 23,366 drivers that were given roadside prohibitions would have been a death statistic an hour later IF they hadn't been taken off the road?  You can say...see the laws work!  Well, the new laws didn't work at that point, the driver was taken off the road.......24 hour prohibitions would have done the same thing. This would show that more police action against drunk drivers accomplishes the same thing, even by just giving 24 hour prohibitions!

   The government on one hand says that alcohol related deaths in motor vehicle accidents is down, but at the same time are astounded at the increase of drinking and driving occurences!  How do we know there are more drinking and driving occurences?  Because they are pulled over and "detected", police presence.      So, the new laws are not slowing down the number of people drinking and driving.....more are getting caught, police presence.   THIS is what is reducing the number of fatalities involving alcohol and driving!!