Jingle bells. Sirens sound. Should have called a friend.

SGI and police focus on impaired drivers in December

sgi_logoImpaired driving is back in the number one spot for traffic-related fatalities in Saskatchewan and police will be cracking down throughout the holiday season. Law enforcement will be looking for drivers who are impaired by either drugs or alcohol throughout the month of December.

On average in Saskatchewan, there are more than 1,300 collisions each year involving alcohol and/or other drugs, resulting in 58 deaths and 656 injuries.

“These aren’t just numbers. They are real people who have been hurt or killed because someone chose to drive impaired,” said Earl Cameron, Vice President of the Auto Fund. “While spreading holiday cheer with friends and family, remember that someone you love is waiting for you to get home safely.”

Consequences for driving impaired by alcohol or drugs vary depending on driver experience and number of offences, and include fines, licence suspensions, vehicle seizures and mandatory ignition interlock for convicted impaired drivers. There is zero drug and alcohol tolerance for drivers under 19 years of age, and for all drivers in the Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) or Motorcycle GDL programs.

Police can detect drug-impaired drivers through the driver’s actions such as weaving within a lane, delayed reaction times and inability to follow instructions, as well as the driver’s physical appearance, including dilated pupils, poor balance and coordination. Police can legally request a Standard Field Sobriety Test (SFST) at the road side for drug-impaired driving.

Illegal drugs, as well as some prescription drugs (e.g. anti-depressants, pain killers) and over-the-counter drugs (e.g. antihistamines, motion sickness medications) can impact driving ability. Mixing different drugs together or mixing drugs with alcohol could increase impairment levels by as much as three times. Drivers should review the side effects of any medication they’re taking with their doctor or pharmacist to understand how it could affect their driving.

“Impaired driving collisions are 100 per cent preventable. With so many options to not drive impaired, there are no excuses,” said Cameron. “When planning a night out, make a safe ride home part of your plan. Choose a designated driver in advance, call a taxi or designated driving service, take the bus, walk, or stay over. Please don’t put your life and the lives of others at risk.”

Drivers are also reminded of the Report Impaired Drivers (RID) program. RID is a road safety program that encourages the public to call 911 to report a suspected impaired driver. If you see a driver you think is impaired, pull over safely to the side of the road and call 911.

Get more information on the consequences of impaired driving. SGI also has a SafeRide app to help you keep track of options for getting home safely – available to download for free from the app store. Follow SGI on Facebook and Twitter for tips on how #wecandrivebetter.

Operation Red Nose

Operation red nose

Named in honour of Rudolph, the most famous reindeer of all, Operation Red Nose provides free rides to drivers and their passengers who are impaired or too tired to drive home during the holiday season.

CLICK HERE TO VISIT THE NATIONAL WEBSITE

How it works

On Friday and Saturday nights from November 27 to December 19, 2015 and on New Year’s Eve, if you’ve been drinking or are too tired to drive home, call 1-877-604-NOSE and a team of three Operation Red Nose volunteers will help you get home safely.

One volunteer will drive your vehicle, a second volunteer will navigate, and a third volunteer will follow in an escort vehicle to pick up the two volunteers once they drop you off.

Donations to Operation Red Nose are gratefully accepted and help fund local youth sports and other not-for-profit organizations.

Communities with Operation Red Nose

Operation Red Nose is available in over 100 communities throughout eight provinces in Canada.

How you can help

The success of Operation Red Nose is dependent on the people who volunteer for the program. It’s a great way to give back to your community while helping to keep our roads safe over the holidays. For more information on how to volunteer as an individual or part of a team in 2015, visit the National Operation Red Nose site.

Supporting Operation Red Nose

This year marks 20 years ICBC has been a proud partner of Operation Red Nose since it began in B.C.. We invest in programs like Operation Red Nose because it’s an effective community-based program that helps drivers get home safely during the holidays. We support the program by:

  • providing auto insurance to protect volunteers and their passengers;
  • producing promotional materials;
  • encouraging employees to volunteer in their communities.

Motorists Warned to “Lock it Down!” When it comes to their Vehicles and Valuables Left in Plain View

With the holiday season almost upon us, Ontario’s Police Chiefs are encouraging motorists and passengers to LOCK IT DOWN! when it comes to their vehicles and to not leave valuables in plain view. The Province’s top cops today launched the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police’s (OACP) annual Lock It OR Lose It campaign in Toronto. The campaign is a crime prevention program that encourages drivers and passengers to take precautions to protect their vehicles and vehicle contents from theft, particularly during the holiday season, but also throughout the year.

“Thieves know that an unlocked vehicle is an open invitation to crime. So is leaving your valuables in plain sight,” said OACP President Chief Jeff McGuire (Niagara Regional Police Service). “This is a busy time of the year. It’s easy to be distracted and leave your vehicle unlocked or valuables in your car. Take extra time to lock it down.”

NYC-car-thiefThe campaign was kicked off at GO Transit’s Scarborough Station where commuters leave their vehicles in order to access GO trains.

“Keeping our customers safe is our top priority here at GO Transit, which is why we are proud supporters of this campaign,” said Greg Percy, President of GO Transit. “Our Transit Safety Officers will be working alongside police officers to ensure our customers are taking the steps they need to take to protect their vehicles and their belongings.”

During the Lock It OR Lose It campaign, police officers and Special Constables examine parked vehicles to confirm they are locked and that no valuables have been left in plain view. Officers place a small notice on vehicles checked indicating what safety precautions were neglected and offer simple prevention tips for drivers to protect their vehicles against theft. The notices also congratulate drivers who have secured their vehicle.

“IBC is a proud partner of the Lock It OR Lose It campaign. In the lead up to the holiday season, there are more cars on the roads, in the parking lots, and everyone is more distracted than normal. This season is prime business time for thieves. So, as you go to park your car, do one simple thing: lock it down. Together, we can help Ontarians have a fun and safe holiday season.” said Rick Dubin, Vice-President, Investigative Services, Insurance Bureau of Canada.

Motorists and passengers are urged not to keep personal documents such as vehicle ownership, liability pink slips, credit card invoices, or other documents containing personal information in their vehicles. Identity thieves are looking for such documents so they can assume identities, secure credit card accounts, lease vehicles for export, and even take out a mortgage against victims’ properties without their knowledge.

Facts:

  • Auto thefts have been on the decline over the past decade – this is great news. However, in the past 12 months, there has been an uptick. Stolen vehicles are up 1% to 73,924 across Canada.
  • There has been an increase in identity theft in recent years. Cases of identity theft and fraud have increased across Canada from 10,807 in 2010 to 11,594 in 2013 – a 6% increase.

BC Collision Counter – 2015

ESTIMATED COLLISION RESULTS FOR B.C. IN 2015 TO DATE:

  • FATAL: 297
  • ALCOHOL INVOLVED FATAL: 92
  • INJURY: 45,830
  • ALCOHOL INVOLVED INJURY: 5,179
  • HOSPITALIZED: 5,904
  • REPORTED: 23,644

VULNERABLE ROAD USERS:

MOTORCYCLE:

  • MOTORCYCLE FATAL:  31
  • MOTORCYCLE INJURY: 1,348
  • MOTORCYCLE CRASHES: 1977

CYCLE:

  • CYCLE FATAL:  9
  • CYCLE INJURY: 1,258
  • CYCLE CRASHES: 1,258

PEDESTRIAN:

  • PEDESTRIAN FATAL:  52
  • PEDESTRIAN INJURY: 2,157
  • PEDESTRIAN CRASHES: 2,067

These figures are estimates based on five year average of collision statistics data from 2008 to 2012 published by ICBC for the province of British Columbia. Hospitalization and Vulnerable Road User rates courtesy of the BC Injury Research and Prevention Unit.

Saskatchewan Will Give Safe Drivers Bigger Breaks on Auto Insurance Premiums

Drivers with good safety records are going to get a bigger break on their auto insurance from the Saskatchewan government.

The province has approved changes to Crown-owned Saskatchewan Government Insurance that will increase the safety discount on basic premiums to 25 per cent.

sgi_logoBad drivers will pay more under the changes to be implemented after the next provincial election slated for next April, 2016.

Penalties will double to $50 per point for drivers in a penalty zone and there will be increases for at-fault collisions.

Points will also be assessed for less severe speeding infractions.

The changes are in response to customer input into a review by Saskatchewan Government Insurance.

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Feds Updating Self-Driving Car Policy Guidance; Goal is Encouraging Public Use

Federal transportation officials are rethinking their position on self-driving cars with an eye toward getting the emerging technology into the public’s hands, according to a spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Transportation

Just two years ago, the agency struck a cautious tone. Its official policy statement, published in May 2013, holds that cars should be limited to testing and not “authorized for use by members of the public for general driving purposes.”

self-driving-cars For several years, Google and several traditional automakers have been running prototypes equipped with a suite of sensors and cameras around public streets and highways, mostly in California.

Those cars must have someone behind the wheel, ready to take over. Some have gotten into collisions, though companies say in each case a person in another car caused the accident.

Google has advocated spreading self-driving cars into the public, once the tech titan concludes the technology is safe.

While states have taken the lead on regulating self-driving cars, policy makers in Washington hold some sway over states’ decision-making. California’s Department of Motor Vehicles in particular has asked for federal guidance as it struggles with how to move the cars safely from small-scale road tests to broader adoption.

In a written statement November 23, 2015, U.S. Department of Transportation spokeswoman Suzanne Emmerling said that with rapid development of the technology, federal policy is being updated.

“Breathtaking progress has been made,” Emmerling wrote. She said Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx ordered his department’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration update its 2013 policy “to reflect today’s technology and his sense of urgency to bring innovation to our roads that will make them safer.”

It’s unclear what the new policy will be, though the tone of the statement signalled that Foxx is interested in endorsing the technology.

Specific language the traffic safety administration in revisiting holds that states which do permit public access after testing should require that a qualified driver be behind the wheel.

Google has argued that once cars can drive as safely as humans, it would be better to remove the steering wheel and pedals so that people don’t mess up the ride. A Google spokesman had no comment on word of the federal review.

The California State Transportation Agency has interpreted the 2013 federal guidance as urging caution. The federal update “reaffirms that the topic is evolving and one worthy of continued discussion and public input,” spokeswoman Melissa Figueroa said. She said that the Department of Motor Vehicles is working to publish draft regulations by year’s end. They were due last Jan. 1, but concerns such as proving that the technology is safe have held up those rules.

Advocating restraint has been the non-profit group Consumer Watchdog.

“We commend the DMV for its thoughtful and thorough approach, and urge that you continue to act in the public’s interest, rather than succumbing to corporate pressure,” John Simpson of Consumer Watchdog wrote last week in a letter to the department of motor vehicles. “The important thing is getting the regulations right, not rushing them out the door.”

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