UBC researchers call on province to roll back 120 km/h speed limits on 1,300 km of roads

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Shift Into Winter Before You Get Behind the Wheel

The Winter Driving Safety Alliance — an organization committed to promoting safe winter driving — urges all drivers and workplaces to Shift into Winter by preparing their vehicles and adjusting driving behaviour to reduce the risk of a crash in challenging winter conditions.

Depending on where you drive in the province, winter road conditions vary, from snow and ice in the north and on high mountain passes, to rain and fog commonly found in the Lower Mainland and southern Vancouver Island. B.C. drivers — and employers with workers who operate fleet or personal vehicles for business purposes — need to think ahead and prepare for changing road and weather conditions, as winter tires or chains are required on designated B.C. routes, starting October 1.

On average, each year in B.C., the number of casualty crashes caused by driving too fast for conditions doubles in December, compared to October — 246 crashes in December compared to 123 in October (police-attended crashes, 2013-2017). The winter months of November, December, and January are a particularly dangerous time for people who drive for work, with nearly 28 per cent of all work-related crashes resulting in injury and time loss claims occurring during these months (WorkSafeBC Data 2013 – 2017).

Starting October 1, most B.C. highways require passenger vehicles to have winter tires (three-peaked mountain and snowflake, or mud and snow) with at least 3.5 mm of tread depth and commercial vehicles to carry chains.

While winter tires, chains and other devices enhance safety by providing better traction in rain, snow, slush and icy conditions, drivers are encouraged to:

  • Plan your route ahead of time – check current highway and weather conditions on DriveBC.ca. Delay travel if conditions are unsafe.
  • Invest in winter driving training – Learn how to brake safely, how to get out of a skid, and how your car handles in winter weather.
  • Slow down – The posted speed limit is the maximum speed under ideal driving conditions, so when inclement weather hits, you should slow down and drive with extra careKeep at least four seconds distance between you and the vehicle in front of you to allow plenty of room in situations where you may need to brake suddenly on a slippery surface.
  • Be prepared – Bring suitable clothing, emergency supplies and a fully charged cell phone if you have one in case of travel delays or a motor vehicle incident.

For employers and supervisors – Employers are legally required to ensure the safety of their workers who operate motor vehicles for business purposes.  The Winter Driving Safety online course and Employer Toolkit on the Shift Into Winter website provides useful information for planning, implementing and monitoring a winter-driving safety program.

For more information about what you can do to stay safe while driving this winter, visit ShiftIntoWinter.ca.

Quotes:

Hon. Harry Bains, Minister of Labour:
“Safety on the job must always be the top priority, for employers and workers alike, and it can be particularly difficult when the workplace is mobile. I urge all drivers to be extra vigilant as we move into the winter season with its challenging road conditions. Be alert, be cautious – and let’s all get home safely at the end of each shift.”

Hon. Claire Trevena, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure:
“We want everyone to drive safely and get home to their families this winter. Safe winter driving is a shared responsibility, and I urge people do their part by using good winter tires, planning ahead by checking DriveBC, slowing down and driving to conditions.”

Darrin McCaskillDirector, Programs, Projects and Initiatives, WorkSafeBC:
“Every day hundreds of British Columbians drive on our roads for work – tow trucks, taxis, transports, delivery vans and buses. Organizations need to prepare now, before road conditions deteriorate, by winterizing their safety plans, assessing and addressing risks and ensuring that workers and contractors are instructed on safe driving procedures. There are a number of resources on the Shift into Winter website. WorkSafeBC can also be contacted directly on its prevention line: 1-888-621-7233.”

About the Winter Driving Safety Alliance 
The Winter Driving Safety Alliance is dedicated to improving road safety throughout the province, through the delivery of an annual Shift Into Winter campaign, using multiple platforms to promote safe winter driving and awareness.

Members include Ambulance Paramedics of B.C. (CUPE 873), Automotive Retailers Association, BCAA, BC Forest Safety Council, BC Road Builders and Heavy Construction Association, BC Trucking Association, City of Prince George, Concrete BC, Government of BC, Insurance Corporation of BC, Justice Institute of British Columbia, Kal Tire, Mainroad Group, Pacific Coach Lines, RCMP, SafetyDriven, Tire and Rubber Association of Canada, Wilson M Beck Insurance Group, and WorkSafeBC.

About WorkSafeBC: 
WorkSafeBC is an independent provincial statutory agency governed by a Board of Directors appointed by the provincial government. The organization serves approximately 2.4 million workers and 238,000 employers throughout British Columbia. In administering the Workers Compensation Act, the organization is accountable to the public through the provincial government.    

SOURCE Winter Driving Safety Alliance

Crawford Human Risk Services Offers Enhanced Disability Management Services

Crawford & Company (Canada) Inc. today announces the integration of Crawford EmployerWORKS™ software with its human risk service line. Crawford EmployerWORKS is an innovative software platform powered by MyAbilities™. It was designed to streamline and standardizes the collection, communication and analysis of physical, cognitive and psychosocial demands tied to risk assessment and return to work efforts. As a tool for the adjudicators, case managers and workers’ compensation consultants of Crawford’s Human Risk division, Crawford EmployerWORKS further empowers our professionals to effectively and efficiently handle disability claims by ensuring a prompt and successful return to work and implementing proper measures to prevent workplace injuries.

“Specializing in occupational (workers’ compensation) and non-occupational (leave and disability) claims from a claim and case management perspective, our human risk division strives to identify and implement new, effective methods to manage such claims ensuring a safe, timely and sustainable return to work,” said Heather Matthews, senior vice president, Crawford Human Risk. “Crawford EmployerWORKS serves to simplify and enhance our communication capabilities with clients, reduce claim costs, and increase success rates tied to sustainable return to work solutions.”

Click HERE to access EmployerWORKS’ capabilities.

This analytical system leverages the vast Crawford EmployerWORKS database to identify typical job demands linked to specific job profiles while incorporating risk factors to assist in mapping out a sustainable return to work solution. Crawford EmployerWORKS also includes tools to identify barriers for return to work in the form of physician causation analysis and psychosocial factors.

“We believe that everyone – employees, employers, health practitioners and insurance companies – will benefit from better prevention, injury management and return to work solutions through advanced ergonomics, artificial intelligence and digital risk assessment technology,” said Reed Hanoun, CEO of MyAbilities. “The EmployerWORKS suite is a whole new take on human asset management. We truly believe that we will revolutionize the way industries manage their ergonomics and safety strategies and that they will never look back!”

Through the use of innovative technology, Crawford continues to adhere to its mission to restore and enhance lives, business and communities by leveraging the appropriate expertise and analytical tools to identify and remove barriers hindering injured parties from obtaining gainful and meaningful employment following an accident, injury or illness.

About Crawford®
Based in Atlanta, Crawford & Company (NYSE: CRD-A and CRD-B) is the world’s largest publicly listed independent provider of claims management solutions to insurance companies and self-insured entities with an expansive global network serving clients in more than 70 countries. The Company’s two classes of stock are substantially identical, except with respect to voting rights and the Company’s ability to pay greater cash dividends on the non-voting Class A Common Stock (CRD-A) than on the voting Class B Common Stock (CRD-B), subject to certain limitations. In addition, with respect to mergers or similar transactions, holders of CRD-A must receive the same type and amount of consideration as holders of CRD-B, unless different consideration is approved by the holders of 75% of CRD-A, voting as a class. More information is available at www.crawfordandcompany.com.

About MyAbilities
MyAbilities is an Ontario-based healthcare data analytics company, focused on process automation for workplace safety, ergonomics and injury management. With its AI data-driven Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offering, we help employers, insurance companies, healthcare providers and injured workers by preventing workplace injuries, expediting the return to work of injured workers, and reducing the cost of claims while promoting a healthy and fit workforce. More information is available at http://www.myabilities.com.

SOURCE Crawford & Company (Canada) Inc.

Saskatchewan making speed cameras permanent after seeing pilot program results

REGINA _ Saskatchewan is going to made photo speed enforcement permanent following a pilot project the government says showed positive results.

The pilot was launched about three years ago and saw speed cameras in Regina, Saskatoon and Moose Jaw.

The province says the number of speeding drivers has gone down in the tested areas, both in high-speed locations and school zones, resulting in fewer collisions and injuries.

The locations were marked with prominent signs, and the province says that will continue.

It also says there will be a warning period with any new location before tickets are issued.

Joe Hargrave, the minister responsible for Saskatchewan Government Insurance, says it was evident as the pilot program continued that speeds were coming down.

“It’s been a really positive effect. And with those fewer casualties and injuries on the roads, that’s very positive,” Hargrave said.

“We know that just makes it safer.”

The government says the program achieved its target of less than one per cent of drivers violating the speed limit, on average, at the high-speed locations where the cameras were tested.

At school zones, the number of collisions resulting in casualties dropped by seven per year.

The province says the decision to continue using the cameras means they can be used at additional sites, which will be determined by a committee.

It says the committee will include representatives from government, SGI, RCMP, municipal police, urban and rural municipal associations and the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations.

The committee will also oversee allocation of money from a new Provincial Traffic Safety Fund, made up of revenue from tickets generated through the program. The money will be divided according to a formula between general revenue, covering program expenses and traffic safety initiatives.

Car horn use has 48 per cent of Canadians feeling agitated, unsafe and at risk for a collision

A recent Kanetix.ca survey found that almost half of Canadians (48%), whether on foot, bike or behind the wheel, have been startled by a car horn blast to the point of feeling agitated, unsafe or even potentially getting into an accident.

The survey also reveals:

  • Males are slightly more likely than females (48% vs. 45%) to use their car horn.
  • The younger generations are more likely to use their car horn (59%) than Generation X (54%), Baby Boomers (41%) and the Silent Generation** (38%).
  • 46% of Canadians use their car horn most often in response to an automobile cutting them off or a dangerous driver.
  • 17% of Canadians say they primarily use their car horn when a driver is not paying attention to a traffic light change.
  • Canadians support fines to deter inappropriate car horn use.
  • 27% would like the 11:30 p.m. to 7 a.m. timeframe for illegal car horn use expanded seven days a week, while 10% would like this timeframe expanded on weekends only.

  • 34% are in favour of issuing fines of up to $350 for illegal use of the car horn.

“Car horn honking by Canadian drivers occurs too often,” said Janine White, VP of Marketplaces and Strategy at Kanetix.ca. “Drivers are quick to react to traffic-related issues by aggressively blasting their horn. What many drivers don’t realize however, is that there’s a time and a place for horn honking, and misuse can put others – pedestrians, cyclists and other drivers – potentially in harm’s way.”

Drivers often forget that the car horn is a safety feature which should only be used when absolutely necessary. According to the Official Ministry of Transportation of Ontario (MTO) Handbook, situations that warrant a car horn honk are those in which one feels threatened by another driver. In this scenario, one should use their horn to attract the other driver’s attention. Horn use can also be done to gain the attention of an animal on the road in an effort to prompt it to safety.

Based on the Kanetix.ca survey, 41 per cent of Canadians ranked rush hour traffic as being worse now than it was three years ago, with nearly one in five Canadians (18 per cent) ranking it as the absolute worse they have seen. Also, nearly half (46 per cent) of Canadians stated they are likely to use their car horn to indicate their disapproval of any traffic-related issues. The most common reason, justifiably, is in response to a dangerous driver on the road, followed by a driver not paying attention to a traffic light change from red to green.

“As traffic across Canada becomes increasingly worse, so will unnecessary car horn use,” said White. “We all need to be mindful of each other on the road and realize that, despite poor traffic conditions or drivers not paying attention behind the wheel, inappropriate car horn honking can result in startling others to the point of getting into an accident.”

The Kanetix.ca survey, conducted between July 3 to July 6, 2018, polled 1179 respondents across Canada. The sample’s age ranged from 18 to 72+ years old. To participate in the survey, respondents were required to be over 18 years old and have a driver’s licence. Survey questions were presented via telephone and respondents provided answers through the touchpad of their mobile device or home phone.

For a high resolution PDF of the infographic please contact jenny@mansfieldinc.com.

** Younger generations – born after 1980, Generation X – born between 1965-1979, Baby Boomers – born between 1946-1964, the Silent Generation – born before 1946.

About Kanetix.ca

Distracted Driving Statistics – What to Believe?

Stop Distracted DrivingI received an interesting fact sheet from the Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF) this week. It looks at distracted driving related fatal collisions in Canada from 2000 to 2015. In some Canadian provinces this type of fatality has surpassed the total caused by alcohol impaired driving. However, that’s not the part of the document that made me pause.

Distracted driving to many means the manual use of a cell phone while operating a motor vehicle. In reality, distractions include being engaged with entertainment or communication devices, engaging with passengers in the vehicle, or eating, smoking or personal grooming while driving, among other examples. Doing anything that takes the driver’s attention from the driving task could be considered as distracting.

This caveat in the preface to the report was what really captured my attention:

It should also be noted that in some collision report forms, investigating officers may code the driver condition as ‘distracted, inattentive,’ meaning there was a general lack of attention exhibited by the driver but there was no specific source of distraction identified.

To me, distracted and inattentive are two different things. Lumping them both together does not paint a true picture of the problem.

Collision data gathering can be a complicated task. In order to be reliable, it must be done promptly, carefully and thoroughly by investigators who gather as much data as possible, considered for accuracy and then reported in a consistent manner.

That was on the minds of the people who produced the TIRF report:

Fatality data from British Columbia from 2011 to 2015 were not available at the time that this fact sheet was prepared. As a result, Canadian data presented have been re-calculated to exclude this jurisdiction and make equitable comparisons.

This politely worded statement could mean many things. TIRF did not give adequate time between the request for data and the writing of the report. It takes more than 3 years for B.C. bean counters to determine a result. B.C. refused to share the data with TIRF. Worst of all, maybe B.C. really has no idea what that data is.

Our government chose to discontinue the requirement to report a collision to the police in July of 2008. Currently, ICBC claims personnel are the only ones in a position to gather the majority of collision data.

If we can’t share data with TIRF, can we be sure that what we are being told about the impact of distracted driving is true?

No doubt it is taking place as the police issued about 43,000 tickets for using electronic devices while driving last year and we know that the consequences of doing so can be terrible, but how many of the 960 collisions that happen each day in B.C. can be blamed on driver distraction?

Cst. Tim Schewe (Ret.) runs DriveSmartBC, a community web site about traffic safety in British Columbia. For 25 years he was an officer with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, including five years on general duty, 20 in traffic and 10 as a collision analyst responsible of conducting technical investigations of collisions. He retired from policing in 2006 but continues to be active in traffic safety through the DriveSmartBC web site, teaching seminars and contributing content to newspapers and web sites.

www.drivesmartbc.ca

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