Impaired driving more than a slight threat

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A newly-released survey by the Alberta Motor Association (AMA) Foundation for Traffic Safety has identified some troubling trends when it comes to current driver attitudes.

Whether the results will lead to positive changes on the province’s highways and roadways remains to be seen.

What is known is that for some drivers, safety continues to be less important than convenience – and that means big trouble for all drivers and passengers, including those in rural communities.

One of the most troubling findings of the AMA survey relates to driver attitudes towards impaired driving, both from alcohol and drugs.

When it comes to drinking/drug taking and driving, nearly half of motorists surveyed said they see the issue of impaired operation as only a “slight threat” (34 per cent) or “not a threat at all” (15 per cent) to their personal safety.

Similarly, more than half of those surveyed said they are “unconcerned” with people using cannabis before driving. Specifically, 31 per cent see it as a “slight threat” and 23 per cent as “not a threat.”

“In one sense, this result can be taken as good news, the average Albertan doesn’t believe they’re at risk of impaired driving on Alberta roads,” said Jeff Kasbrick, vice-president of government and stakeholder relations for the AMA.

“However, we can’t become complacent. Impaired driving, whether alcohol or drug-related, is a far too present reality on Alberta roads and a very serious traffic safety issue.”

Isn’t it surprising that after years of tireless effort by groups such as MADD – and the almost daily reports of drunk-driving deaths on Alberta roads — that some motorists still consider impaired driving a “slight threat” or even “no threat at all’?

Such attitudes seem more suited to 1950 than 2017.

Hopefully, those who wrongly believe that impaired driving isn’t the extremely serious and dangerous crime that it is will reconsider their attitudes.

Meanwhile, with the Christmas driving season just around the corner, all drivers are reminded that safety must always come first.

Dan Singleton is the Mountain View Gazette editor.

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Dan Singleton

Dan Singleton is the editor of the Mountain View Gazette who joined the newspaper in 1994. He covers news, municipal politics and community events in Mountain View County. He is also a longtime columnist for other publications of Mountain View Publishing.