MADD Canada Raises Concerns About Toronto City Council Decision to Halt Rideshare Driver’s Licences

OAKVILLE, Ontario, Nov. 16, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- MADD Canada is strongly concerned about a recent decision by Toronto City Council to temporarily stop issuing licences for rideshare drivers, particularly with the busy holiday season coming up.

Earlier this month, Toronto City Council stopped issuing rideshare driver’s licences until a mandatory driver training program is implemented.

MADD Canada fully supports the implementation of the mandatory training program, but believes the decision to halt rideshare driver’s licences until that program is in place will have a negative impact on Torontonians.

“We’re heading into the holiday season – a time when alcohol consumption can increase and the risk for impaired driving is high,” said MADD Canada Chief Executive Officer Andrew Murie. “This decision means there will be less drivers available, and increased wait times for Torontonians who are trying to make the responsible decision of not driving themselves after consuming alcohol or drugs.”

Every hour, on average, 10 impaired driving federal charges and provincial short-term licence suspensions are laid in Canada, according to MADD Canada’s latest statistics. Crashes involving alcohol and/or drugs kill hundreds of Canadians and injure thousands each year.

It is vital that people have a range of safe, convenient, and accessible transportation options available so that they never take the risk of driving impaired. Ridesharing services are a very important tool in the effort to stop impaired driving. These services are especially important at peak times, when taxis may be very busy and public transportation has stopped, such as when bars and restaurants let out for the night.

“As an organization dedicated to stopping impaired driving and to supporting victims and survivors of this violent crime, we believe it is essential that a broad range of transportation services are available, including public transportation, taxis and ridesharing, to ensure people never take the risk of driving impaired,” Mr. Murie wrote in a letter to Toronto Mayor John Tory. “The decision to halt issuing new ridesharing driver’s licences until a mandatory driver training program is in place will have a negative impact on people’s ability to get home safely, and unfortunately, could lead to some, who would have otherwise used ridesharing, to drive impaired.”

A growing body of research shows that ridesharing services help prevent impaired driving and related crashes.

  • A study released in July 2021 by the National Bureau of Economic Research indicated that ridesharing had decreased U.S. alcohol-related traffic fatalities by 6.1% and reduced total U.S. traffic fatalities by 4%.
  • In June 2021, a JAMA (Journal of American Medical Association) study showed the introduction of ridesharing services in Houston, Texas was associated with significant reductions in motor vehicle crash traumas and impaired driving convictions.
  • Previous research from Temple University compared rates of alcohol-related crash deaths in cities before and after Uber was available and concluded that the arrival of Uber in a city led to a 3.6% to 5.6% decrease in the number of people killed in alcohol-related car crashes.

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