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Impaired Driving and Rural Road Safety

From the City of Ottawa




  • The month of July has the highest number of fatal and major injury collisions related to driving impaired by drugs or alcohol – with rural areas accounting for over a third of these collisions.

  • By Ontario law, the amount you’ve consumed is irrelevant if you exhibit signs of impairment. If police determine that you have drugs or alcohol in your system and/or that you are impaired by any substance, you can face severe consequences and potential criminal charges.

  • No matter where you’re driving, if you’re consuming drugs or alcohol, don’t get behind the wheel of any vehicle. Instead, stay overnight or use public transportation, taxis, or other rideshare services.

  • Data shows that July, August and September have a marked increase in fatal and major injury collisions on rural roads. While many drivers may think busy urban and suburban roads pose a greater safety risk, those open and clear rural roads present their own challenges and risks, such as:

    • Curves and sudden turns

    • Soft gravel shoulders

    • Hidden intersections

    • Slower vehicles, such farm equipment and tractors

    • Wildlife, such as deer, moose and coyotes.

  • Compounding these safety challenges, especially at night, are speeding, aggressive driving, distracted driving and impairment from alcohol or drugs. The open, clear roadways provide a false sense of security – but drivers must maintain the same attention to speed, control and alertness as driving on any urban roadway or highway.

  • To learn more about the City’s Road Safety Action Plan, and the many initiatives getting underway this year to increase road safety for all road users, please visit Road Safety Action Plan | City of Ottawa

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