Evaluating to what extend new impaired driving laws reduce preventable deaths

Several patients with minor injuries from a car crash come into a large Emergency Department. The injured driver is identified as causing the crash and his alcohol level is not elevated. He is discharged and 2 weeks later is the cause of a fatal pedestrian crash after smoking marijuana.

The strategic initiative to mitigate driver impairment is investigating the levels of THC in the blood of culpable drivers to determine levels that correlate with impairment. This information will be used to set public policy by transportation authorities in jurisdictions world wide. Such policies may have prevented this death.

In Canada, the estimated cost of impaired driving injuries and deaths is $12 billion annually. However, studies on impaired driving by the UBC Department of Emergency Medicine show that impaired drivers treated in hospital after a crash are seldom convicted and are repeat offenders. The Department is participating in research and advocacy work that directly influences stricter laws resulting in a 51% reduction of deaths due to impaired driving.