Reducing Drinking & Driving in Ontario
Ten Low-Cost but Potentially Effective Strategies
This year, like every year, we will see many tragedies due to the effects of drinking and driving on Ontario’s roads. The following are ten low-cost but potentially effective strategies to reduce drinking and driving, and the risk of tragedy.
1. Label All Bottles of Alcohol with Drinking and Driving Warning Labels
Leverage the virtual duopoly of alcohol retail sales to require every bottle of beer, wine and hard liquor sold at LCBO and the Beer Store, as well as other independent alcohol vendors to label every bottle with warning labels for drinking and driving.
2. Use the Marketing Clout of the LCBO and the Beer Stores to Warn About Drinking and Driving
The LCBO and the Beer Store are among the most aggressive and prolific advertisers in the market – they should be required to include prominent notices in their ads about the dangers of drinking and driving – and they together with the Liquor Licence Board of Ontario should be required to create and distribute specific marketing materials delivered through their regular marketing channels including newspaper inserts, TV ads, store signage and billboards to communicate this message and drive it home.
3. Require all Licensed Restaurants to Post Drinking and Driving Warning Signs
Every licensed establishment is required to prominently display their provincial liquor licence as well as their public health certificate. It would be a small thing to add a warning sign for drinking and driving
4. Require all Ontario Gas Stations to Display Drinking & Driving Warning Signs and Labels at Each Pump and at the Service Desk
Every potential intoxicated driver needs to fuel up at a gas station. This can make gas station great partners in communicating the danger of drinking and driving.
5. Post Anti Drinking and Driving Signage at all Provincial Highway On and Off Ramps
The On Ramps and Off Ramps of Ontario’s provincial highways are unique in the way that have and hold the attention of large numbers of drivers – and thus have incredible potential to provide high impact messages to Ontario’s drivers and passengers. A well designed campaign at these strategic nodes can have incredible impact.
6. Reward Designated Drivers as Community Heroes and Exemplary Citizens
Ontario should recognize and reward designated drivers and their contribution to the safety of our roads. Perhaps the government can acknowledge Designated Drivers with specially designed pins that would be widely acknowledged. Perhaps wearers of these designated driver pins can get rewarded with a special offer from Tim Hortons, our national non-alcoholic beverage purveyor.
7. The High monetary Cost of Drinking and Driving is Born by All Drivers other Insurance Holders through Elevated Insurance Costs
All drivers and other holders of insurance pay the financial cost of the damage due to drinking and driving. The government of Ontario can work with insurance to develop a province wide marketing campaign that would incorporate inserts into all insurance renewal policies and matching materials at all Ministry of Transportation licencing, licence renewal and MTO Service Ontario Kiosks.
8. Everyone Involved in the Auto Sector Should be Enlisted into the Anti-Driving Campaign
Retailers like Canadian Tire, organizations like CAA, Canada’s automakers, CAW workers and all involved in the auto sector can lend their voices and support to a provincial anti-drinking and driving strategy by leveraging their incredible marketing clout in a concerted effort to eradicate this scourge
9. Use Ontario’s Business Improvement Areas to Control Drinking and Driving
Many of the holiday partying in Ontario takes place in designated Business Improvement Areas which create and run promotions as well as events promoting the businesses who constitute their membership. The resources and creativity of Ontario’s BIAs should be leveraged to help promote Ontario’s Anti-Drinking and Driving campaign.
10. Organize Anti-Drinking & Driving Campaigns at Universities, Colleges and High Schools
It is widely recognized that young adults constitute one of the highest risk groups for drinking and driving, and the carnage that can ensue. The government can, together with the Council of Ontario Universities, the Canadian Marketing Association and university and colleges and their student government can develop a highly targeted and effective marketing campaign for the anti-drinking and driving cause.
Having served in the administration of one of Ontario’s great universities, including roles in both our campus liquor licensing, parking & transportation and transformative campus environmental and policy strategies, I believe that all of their strategy elements is not only possible, but eminently feasible and potentially highly effective.
I believe that the development and implementation can save lives, reduce hospital and health costs, reduce lost work time, reduce traffic congestion and make our roads safer for every citizen on our great province.