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Which Vehicles Do Police Target the Most for DUIs in Canada?

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8 months ago

With a professional interest in the subject matter, the lawyers of TorontoDUI keep abreast of all DUI-related news and take note of any interesting, impaired driving-related information they come across, no matter how trivial. One of our lawyers recently found an article that named the GMC C1500 pickup truck as the motor vehicle involved with the most DUIs in America. According to the Insurify report — "The Car Models with the Most DUIs in 2021" — GMC C1500 drivers “are pulled over for driving drunk 144% more frequently than the average motorist.”

How many people would come up with that answer in a trivia question about top motor vehicles involved in DUIs? Few to none surmised our attorney, who also wondered which motor vehicles in Canada tend to be pulled over the most for DUI. Given their DUI caseload, our lawyer certainly didn’t have time to pursue the answer, so they tasked an underling with it. Here is what the legal minion uncovered about which automobiles tend to be pulled over the most for impaired driving in Canada.

Available Data on Automobile Make in Canadian DUIs is Limited

With an exhaustive Google search using a multitude of different key phrases, our legal assistant failed to find any relevant info about which vehicle models tend to be involved in the most Canadian DUI arrests. So, we fired him.

Ok, we’re not that draconian, and the legal aid remains employed. Despite the apparent lack of relevant data, we allowed him to play around with whatever info he could find on the subject to make some well-thought-out stabs in the relative dark about what automobile models might be involved in the most Canadian DUIs. Let’s see where that gets us.

Number of Vehicles Involved in Canadian DUIs

According to the latest Statistics Canada data, police investigated 71,495 impaired driving incidents in 2021. Excepting rare circumstances relating to repeat offenders and borrowed vehicles, this would suggest that almost 71,500 separate motor vehicles were involved in DUIs that year.

Meanwhile, 26.2 million road-worthy motor vehicles were registered in Canada that year. Thus, about 0.27% of our country’s motor vehicles were driven by a police-identified suspected impaired driver that year. But how many of them were GMC C1500 pickup trucks?

The answer to that question is elusive at best, considering that it’s impossible to figure out how many GMC C1500s are still operational. The C1500 was one of several distinct models produced as part of four generations of the company’s C/K series of pickup trucks. The first generation was manufactured from 1960-1966, the second from 1967-1972, the third from 1973-1991, and the last from 1988-1998. We could not find production numbers for any of the generations and have no idea what percentage of production for each generation was devoted to making the C1500. An article by a classic vehicle parts company claimed that more than one million trucks from the first half of the fourth generation were still on the road as of 2017, though with no mention of how many might carry the C1500 designation and if that includes Canadian roads.

That leaves the second half of the fourth generation and the other three generations. Any remaining first- and second-generation trucks are likely rare classic collectibles, while operational vehicles from the third generation are likely clunkers and also rare. That leaves the latter half of the fourth generation with who knows how many C1500s, all of which are more than 25 years old.

We don’t claim to have great actuarial skills, but the estimated average pickup truck life span of 10-15 years suggests that few C1500s are actually being driven on North American roads, and fewer still on Canadian ones. The bottom line seems to be that GMC C1500 drivers may be more prone to impaired driving than the overall driving population, but their numbers must be exceptionally small due to the apparent relative scarcity of the vehicle.

Returning to the Overall Insurify Data

Even though we do not believe that the Insurify data can be effectively applied to the Canadian driving public, it seems to be the only available information on vehicles prone to be involved with DUIs. Here are the other nine vehicle models included in Insurify’s top-ten list of car models with the most DUIs:

  • Chevrolet Astro — 134% more drivers with DUIs than average.
  • Chevrolet Caprice — 128% more drivers with DUIs than average.
  • Mazda 3 — 127% more drivers with DUIs than average.
  • Acura Integra — 126% more drivers with DUIs than average.
  • BMW 2-Series — 125% more drivers with DUIs than average.
  • Chrysler Concorde — 121% more drivers with DUIs than average.
  • Jaguar S-Type — 120% more drivers with DUIs than average.
  • Audi A4 Allroad — 104% more drivers with DUIs than average.
  • BMW 7-Series — 103% more drivers with DUIs than average.

Along with the C1500, five of these vehicles — Astro, Caprice, Integra, Concorde, and Jaguar S-Type — have been discontinued and are only available on the used-car market. We believe this could make them likely candidates for prolific DUI violations by Canadian drivers based on their affordability to the demographic most prone to DUI. As noted by Insurify, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration identifies the 21-24-year-old age group as having the highest DUI rates, followed by those 25-34. Statistics Canada holds similar views, with estimates attributing 44% of all Canadian DUI arrests in 2019 to drivers aged 20-34. Insurify concludes that “[y]ounger drivers may gravitate towards used, less expensive cars, perhaps explaining why drivers of these discontinued models have such high DUI rates.”

Forget the Vehicle Model; Focus on Driver Behaviour

If you happen to drive one of Insurify’s listed DUI violator vehicle makes, we suggest that you don’t worry about whether the police might take more interest in you when you’re on the road. We don’t believe Canadian police keep a running list of DUI violations based on car type. If an officer sees a Chevrolet Astro or Chrysler Concorde, they won’t assume that the driver is more likely than any other to be driving impaired. Instead, police focus on driving behaviours — it’s usually not the vehicle that gets a drunk driver pulled; it’s what the driver does with it. Any of the following actions will undoubtedly subject a driver to closer police scrutiny and potential blue light activation to further assess impairment:

  • Any traffic violations or illegal activity
  • Moving at a speed significantly higher or lower than the posted speed limit
  • Inconsistent changes in speed
  • Crossing traffic separation lines
  • Collisions or near collisions
  • Erratic braking and sudden stops
  • Slowed reactions to traffic signals
  • Inconsistent signalling
  • Sudden turns
  • Wide turns
  • Weaving
  • Drifting

Turn to TorontoDUI for Experienced GTA DUI Defence

No matter the make, model, and year of your motor vehicle, if you’ve been arrested for DUI in the Greater Toronto Area, contact the skilled legal minds of TorontoDUI. To learn more about how our team’s three decades of successful DUI defence strategizing can help you seek a favourable outcome, contact TorontoDUI for your free initial consultation.

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