Drinking and Driving Don’t Mix
It doesn’t matter how old you are, drinking and driving is a recipe for disaster. Alcohol was a factor in the deaths of more than 1,200 Canadian road users in 2003. Disturbingly, young drivers are the worst offenders. Recent statistics show that 56% of all drinking and driving incidents are caused by people between the ages 19 and 24. These accidents can have devastating and fatal consequences for your child and for others.
Knowledge is the best defense
Take the time to sit down with your family and talk to your children about drinking and driving, especially if they have access to the family car. Inexperience and peer pressure can cause even the most responsible young adult to make foolish choices. Choices, that in a split second, could have significant physical, emotional and financial consequences.
What You Should Know
• Reduced Coverage – your insurance coverage may be reduced or denied if you allow your vehicle to be used in an unlawful manner, e.g. driving while under the influence. If someone is involved in an alcohol-related accident while using your car, there is no coverage for your vehicle and only limited coverage for the injured operator. Impaired drivers automatically forego income replacement benefits and, when there is loss of life, most policies will cover only the minimum death and funeral expenses.
• Law Suits – in accidents where people are seriously injured, it is not uncommon for a lawsuit to follow. Although your policy provides liability coverage, it may not be enough, and you could be personally exposed to catastrophic financial loss.
• Higher Premiums – impaired convictions can cause insurance costs to increase by up to 500%. This could mean tens of thousands of dollars in excess premium over 5-7 years.
Over the past decade, increased media awareness, education programs and non-profit groups such as Ontario Students Against Impaired Driving (OSAID) have helped reduce the number of drinking and driving related instances almost in half. By arming our youth with the information to make educated decisions, we hope these numbers will continue to decline.
(Copyright: Staying in Touch 2006 – Volume Sixteen, Number Two)