Increase In Driving Under The Influence Anticipated This Holiday Season

Anticipated rise in drinking and driving this holiday season Onlia study finds (CNW Group/Onlia Holding Inc.)

Study finds 44% of Ontarians with home or auto insurance believe driving under the influence of alcohol more likely this holiday season, 41% for cannabis

As Ontarians prepare for the holidays amidst the new reality of COVID-19, many feel a false sense of security both on the road and at home. Driving under the influence and “porch piracy” were cited as concerns in a newly released study hosted on the Angus Reid Forum, titled Onlia Winter Safety Index.

With lower public transit and ride sharing use due to social distancing protocols and fear of transmitting/catching the COVID-19 virus, more than 40% of Ontarians with home or auto insurance expect increases in impaired driving behaviour (44% alcohol, 41% cannabis).

“We know that alcohol and cannabis use affect your ability to drive safely and increases your risk of getting into a crash,” said Alex Kelly, Onlia’s safety ambassador. “As a result of social distancing and provincially mandated restrictions, motorists and hosts celebrating at home need a reminder that a relaxed attitude about driving impaired, as an alternative to taking public transportation, is not an option.”

Social host liability

Only two-thirds of Ontarians with are aware that a celebration host is legally responsible to ensure that their guests do not drive impaired.

“Many don’t realize that they may be responsible for their guests’ actions if they serve people past the point of intoxication on their property,” said Kelly. “Onlia is reminding hosts that if they choose to have people over this holiday season, to respect public health guidelines, and also ensure that guests have a safe ride home.”

Risks associated with online shopping

Ahead of the holiday shopping season, the survey reveals that half (51%) of Ontarians with home insurance plan to buy more gifts online this year than before, while an extra six per cent are buying their gifts online for the first time.

When asked about liability of porch piracy, more than half (52%) of Ontarians with home insurance admit they simply don’t know which services, if any, will reimburse the costs of stolen packages. Only one in four (24%) correctly note that Amazon will reimburse the buyer for stolen packages and one in ten (12%) believe that Canada Post will reimburse the cost.

“Home-insured Ontarians concerned about stolen packages should take a look at their policies as they may be covered,” said Kelly. “Onlia’s policy will replace your things if they’re stolen or damaged at home – your packages left at the front door are included!”

Holiday road tripping

Ontarians are planning road trips this winter, with many staying close to home:

  • 64% are planning day trips within the province
  • Out of province travel accounts for 15%
  • Only six per cent are planning a trip to the U.S.

Very few (4%) are planning longer stays of four or more days, and those trips will be local. Unfortunately, for those planning longer stays, quarantining is not top of mind – only one third (32%) currently plan to quarantine/self-isolate. 43% say they will not do so, and 25% are unsure. While 9 in 10 respondents noted that their vehicle is prepared for the winter season, it is clear that drivers may not be considering how COVID-19 may impact their travel plans.

“Onlia recognizes this winter season will be different. Road trips are one way to beat the winter blues and we encourage everyone to do it safely and in accordance with public health guidelines,” said Alex Kelly. “By downloading the Onlia SenseÔ app, motorists can gamify their driving experience, earning rewards such as gift cards and cashback for being safe on the road.”


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