Let’s face it — 2020 has been pretty darned hard. It’s only natural to try to squeeze the last bit of fun out of summer this Labour Day long weekend.
Regardless of whether your long weekend plans take you to the lake or a friend’s backyard, SGI wants to make sure everyone gets there and back without any problems.
With heavier traffic, the risk of a crash doubles over long weekends, but there are plenty of things you can do to keep yourself and other road users safe:
- #SlowDown – driving faster than the speed limit or than road conditions allow can affect your control and the time you have to make decisions. Obey posted speed limits. Construction season isn’t over, so keep an especially close eye out for workers in the #OrangeZone. The road is their office. And, with harvest underway, be aware that you might encounter farmers moving their equipment between fields, so be sure to slow down and give them space until they are off the roads.
- #DriveSober – Never drive impaired and #BeAGoodWingman by preventing others from driving impaired as well. While we have made strong progress in reducing impaired driving in Saskatchewan, the fight isn’t over. We want people to always make a plan for a safe ride home, and do it before they crack that beer (or inhale that brownie).
- #BuckleUp – using a seatbelt is a simple behaviour that can save you from serious injury or death in a collision. Need a visual? This video shows what happens to unrestrained occupants in a roll-over (only dummies were severely harmed in the making of that video). It’s hard to believe in the year 2020, police still catch several hundred drivers every month not wearing their seatbelt.
- #JustDrive – Distracted driving penalties went up in February, but there’s a human cost to driver distraction and inattention, as the leading cause of injury. Most distracted driving tickets result from phone use. We have some good tips on what to do with your phone before you drive here.
From everyone at SGI, have a fantastic long weekend!
www.sgi.sk.ca / www.sgicanada.ca
If you’ll be travelling over Labour Day long weekend, ICBC is asking you to share the road and do your part to drive safely.
Every Labour Day long weekend, approximately four people die and 600 people are injured in 2,100 crashes throughout the province.*
The key to sharing the road safely is staying focused on driving and looking out for road users around you. Avoid distractions which will take your eyes off the road and your mind off driving. Police across B.C. are cracking down on distracted drivers as part of this month’s enforcement and education campaign.
Top 4 tips:
If you find it difficult to take a break from your phone while driving, turn it to silent and keep it out of reach and out of sight. You can help keep your family and friends safe by not texting, calling or answering if you know they’re behind the wheel.
Allow at least two seconds of following distance between vehicles in good road conditions, and at least three seconds on high-speed roads. Increase your distance when you’re following a large vehicle such as an RV (it can block your vision) or a motorcycle (it can stop quicker than a car).
With trucks and RVs, keep clear of their blind spots. When following, you should be able to see both mirrors of the RV or truck in front of you. If you’re behind a slow moving RV or truck climbing up a hill, leave extra space and be patient as they’re probably trying their best to keep up with the flow of traffic.
Check road conditions at DriveBC.ca before you leave. Be realistic about travel times and accept delays that may arise. Don’t rush to make up time – slow down to reduce your risk of crashing and arrive at your destination safely. You also save fuel by driving at a steady speed.
Regional statistics over Labour Day weekend:
On Vancouver Island, on average, 72 people are injured in 310 crashes every year.
In the Southern Interior, on average, 70 people are injured in 320 crashes every year.
In the North Central region, on average, 20 people are injured in 110 crashes every year.
In the Lower Mainland, on average, 440 people are injured in 1,300 crashes every year.
More than one in four fatal crashes on B.C. roads involve distracted driving, which is why police and ICBC continue to combat this dangerous driving behaviour that claims 76 lives each year.*
Since B.C.’s distracted driving law came into effect in January 2010, more than 430,000 infractions have been issued to drivers for using an electronic device while driving. Some drivers didn’t get the message the first time, as between January 2010 and March 2020:
44,000 drivers have received two tickets for distracted driving
12,000 have received three tickets
4,200 have received four tickets
65 drivers have received 10 tickets
This month, drivers will be hearing one message – leave your phone alone when you’re behind the wheel.
Police across B.C. are ramping up distracted driving enforcement during September, and community volunteers are setting up Cell Watch deployments to remind drivers to leave their phone alone. The campaign also features new digital and radio advertising.
Drivers can do their part by avoiding distractions while driving and encouraging others to do the same. Activate Apple’s Do Not Disturb While Driving feature or what’s similarly available on other devices.
You can get tips and statistics in an infographic at icbc.com.
Chief Constable Neil Dubord, Chair of the BC Association of Chiefs of Police Traffic Safety Committee
“Distracted driving continues to be the number one cause of police-reported crashes in British Columbia. If your eyes aren’t on the road, and you are not fully focused on driving, you are distracted. Every second counts when you are behind the wheel, and being distracted for just a second could be the difference between life and death. Police are passionate about making our roads safer, and the distracted driving campaign is an excellent way to educate the community on the risks associated with distracted driving.”
Lindsay Matthews, ICBC’s Vice-President Public Affairs & Driver Licensing
“Using electronic devices, like smartphones, is one of the most common and riskiest forms of distracted driving. Even short glances away from the road increases your risk of crashing. Safer roads start with every driver making a conscious decision to focus on the road and leave their phones alone. Let’s all do our part to create a safer driving culture in B.C.”
Every year, on average, 26 people are killed in distracted driving-related crashes in the Lower Mainland.
Every year, on average, nine people are killed in distracted driving-related crashes on Vancouver Island.
Every year, on average, 29 people are killed in distracted driving-related crashes in the Southern Interior.
Every year, on average, 12 people are killed in distracted driving-related crashes in the North Central region.
*Police data from 2014 to 2018. Distraction: where one or more of the vehicles involved had contributing factors including use of communication/video equipment, driver inattentive and driver internal/external distraction.
There’s an old joke that there are only two seasons in Saskatchewan; winter and road construction. But law enforcement weren’t joking around when they wrote 224 tickets for violations in work zones in July.
Disobeying speed limits in highway construction zones is a serious concern. Passing highway workers — or highway equipment with its warning lights flashing — in a marked construction zone means drivers are required to slow to 60 km/h or the posted speed limit. For July, police across Saskatchewan reported:
- 195 tickets were issued for exceeding 60 km/h when passing highway workers or occupied highway equipment within a work zone,
- 15 tickets were issued for exceeding 60 km/h when passing a highway worker or flag person,
- 2 tickets for exceeding 60 km/h when passing occupied highway equipment,
- 4 tickets for exceeding 60 km/h when passing highway equipment with warning lights in operation, and
- 8 tickets for failing to obey the directions of a flag person.
The July Traffic Safety Spotlight focused on providing a safe working environment for the people who build and fix our roads. Watch this video with Shantel Lipp of the Saskatchewan Heavy Construction Association where she explains the perils faced by construction workers from speeding and reckless drivers.
Summer is not over, and neither is construction season. Speeding through construction zones results in extra-expensive tickets (driving 100 km/h in a 60 km/h orange zone will cost the offender $1,008), so when you #SeeOrangeSlowDown and use the few extra moments of your journey to think about all the things you can do with the money you didn’t have to spend on a ticket.
Law enforcement also reported the following results in July:
- 7,333 other aggressive driving or speeding offences;
- 798 distracted driving offences, including 684 for cellphone use while driving; and
- 609 seatbelt and child restraint offences. (If you’re not wearing a seatbelt, you greatly increase your risk of being ejected like this — and seriously hurt or killed — in a collision.
Police also reported 474 impaired driving offences in July, including 382 Criminal Code offences.While impaired driving collisions, injuries and fatalities in Saskatchewan have declined over the past decade, the fight against impaired driving is not over, and enforcement remains very strong. SGI and law enforcement continue to focus on impaired driving with the August Traffic Safety Spotlight. However you choose to enjoy the final days of summer, always ensure you make a plan for a safe ride home.
Join SGI on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram where the discussion will continue with Saskatchewan drivers who want to #DriveSober.
www.sgi.sk.ca / www.sgicanada.ca
Harvest is either underway or just on the horizon for many farmers in the province – and that means drivers may be seeing more farm equipment on Saskatchewan highways in the coming weeks.
Although collisions with farm equipment are rare, now is the time of year that they are most likely to happen.
Yes, you may be hitting the road to make the most of these last few weeks of warm and sunny weather. While many of us are enjoying summer, our agricultural producers are working hard to get their crops off the field. The work farmers do puts food on our tables and contributes to the provincial economy. And they need everyone’s help to keep safe.
Some things to keep in mind when driving around farm equipment:
Be patient – farm equipment is very slow-moving. If you find yourself behind a big piece of machinery – be patient, and pass when it is safe to do so.
Again, be patient – Farmers are usually only transporting their machinery from one field to another, so they won’t be on the road for long. Even if you don’t get an opportunity to pass safely, you won’t be behind them for a long distance
Give yourself some space – farm equipment can be wider or longer than sometimes expected. Make sure to give yourself plenty of room to pass and pull back into the lane safely.
And give the farmer some space too – The operator of the farm equipment has plenty of blind spots, and may not be able to see you if you’re following too closely behind or cut in front of them. When everyone can see each other on the road, we’re all safer.
Stay alert – Depending on the farm equipment, the farmer may not be able to signal their intent to turn or slow down. Anticipate sudden movements, and keep your focus on the road.
Bonus tip: Farmers will also take steps to ensure their safety and yours. Equipment that travels slower than 40 km/h, must be equipped with a rear/center slow-moving-vehicle sign, and machinery that extends more than 1.2 meters should be equipped with reflective devices to alert drivers.
www.sgi.sk.ca / www.sgicanada.ca
The excerpted article was written by JAMES SNELL | Winnipeg Sun
Winnipeg-based engineering startup MicroTraffic has launched a grant funding program in partnership with Aviva Canada insurance to help Canadian cities improve road safety.
MicroTraffic uses artificial intelligence technology and existing traffic cameras to automatically detect and trace vehicle speeds, pedestrians, and bicycles to identify near misses. If the system detects that near misses are unusually high for a particular road or pedestrian crossing, municipalities can use data to change signal timing, add signs, or even reconfigure the layout of an intersection.
Craig Milligan, CEO and co-founder of MicroTraffic, said on Monday that providing traffic analysts information based on serious near-misses means the company can tell them where and how the next fatalities are likely to happen.
“This really is a game-changer for cities, so we’re encouraging all municipalities and provincial road authority departments to apply so we can work with them to make their local roads safer,” he explained.
Milligan said the Aviva partnership could mean great things for company expansion, adding the program allows cities to try the technology on a risk-reduced basis.
“We have a 22 person team of artificial intelligence scientists, data scientists and road safety engineers,” he said. “Every startup dreams of going public (on a stock exchange) but we have a lot of work to do to build the company right now.”
The company said in a news release that almost eight in 10 road fatalities happen where no fatalities had occurred previously, adding only historical crash data that involves a fatality — not near misses — is currently being used to change road infrastructure in many cities.
To date, 40 governmental departments and agencies in North America — including in the Greater Toronto Area, Los Angeles, Austin, Detroit, New Jersey, Montreal, Calgary, and Edmonton have programmed over $200 million of road safety improvements using MicroTraffic’s diagnostic technology.
The grant program, which is financed by Aviva, is open to traffic safety and road management agencies until Sept. 8. Applicants must be from cities with 100,000 or more people in order to be eligible for the program. Up to five cities — 10 intersections per city — will be selected.
Grant decisions will be based on the needs of each city and their commitment to road safety and collaboration.
Selected agencies are expected to pay 25% of the costs up to maximum of $12,500.