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Directions in Highway Safety, Spring 2007 Cover Page Download Newsletter pdf
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Spring 2007 | Vol. 10 | No. 1

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Study Details the Impact of Short-Term License Suspensions in Saskatchewan

The Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) and the Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF) have released a new report on the impact of roadside short-term license suspensions (STS) for drinking drivers-a concept that could be used in the U.S.

STS is a provincial sanction that has been used in Canada for the last 20 years as a means of immediately removing drivers with a low BAC (blood alcohol content) from the road for a period of 12 to 24 hours. The study assessed the effectiveness of STS in the province of Saskatchewan for BAC levels between 0.04 and 0.08 percent.

"The research shows that driver fatalities with BACs at 0.08 per cent or less decreased in the years following the introduction of the new Saskatchewan law. However, the numbers are very small, making it difficult to determine whether or not the changes were caused by the law," said Deanna Singhal, a co-author of the report. "We definitely need more research on this topic to determine if short-term suspensions at the roadside have a statistically significant impact on drinking and driving behaviors."

The study found that police issue short-term suspensions about as often as they issue Criminal Code charges, thereby removing twice as many drinking drivers from the road than would occur if only Criminal Code charges were available. The findings from the report also demonstrate that more information is required to determine the long-term impact of STS in Canadian provinces.

"Short-term suspensions and Criminal Code sanctions are complementary measures implemented by our federal and provincial governments that jointly fight impaired driving," said Maureen Murray from CAA Saskatchewan.

The study is available online at www.caa.ca.