Progress in curbing drinking and driving but continued vigilance needed: poll

 The Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF) is pleased to announce a new fact sheet that summarizes findings on self-reported drinking and driving in Canada. This fact sheet is based on the Road Safety Monitor (RSM) 2017 poll conducted by TIRF, in partnership with Beer Canada and State Farm®. The results indicate that while progress has been made to curb drinking and driving, continued attention and monitoring is needed to avoid losing ground.

Recent trends in the number of alcohol-related road deaths and the percentage of total road deaths that are attributed to drinking drivers in Canada (except British Columbia), indicate that progress in reducing drinking and driving has been achieved, at least until 2014, which is the most recent year for which fatality data are available. To illustrate, the number of Canadians who died in traffic crashes involving a drinking driver (excluding BC) was 424 in 2014, down from 1,054 in 1995. The percent of all traffic fatalities that involved a drinking driver (excluding BC) was 26.7% in 2014, which is the lowest since 1995, when it was 37.2%.

“However, since 2013, self-reported data on drinking and driving suggest that the proportion of drivers who engage in this behaviour is not decreasing,” cautions Ward Vanlaar, Chief Operating Officer of TIRF. “We are able to use the RSM poll results as an ‘early warning’ system and the data on self-reported driving after drinking suggest that the number of deaths may increase again without concerted effort”.

One way to address the drinking and driving problem is targeted messaging to educate the public. “Our data have consistently shown over the years that many drivers who admit to driving after drinking do their drinking at the home of friends or family,” explains Steve Brown, Research Associate at TIRF. “While overall Canadians remain concerned about this issue, many may not realize that drinking in those settings before driving can be as problematic as drinking in bars, at parties or in restaurants before driving.”

Brown concludes, “Our data show that progress has been made but TIRF will continue monitoring this issue to ensure we have good data to support effective countermeasures.”

Download Fact Sheet: New Road Safety Monitor 2017: Drinking and Driving in Canada

About the Traffic Injury Research Foundation:
The mission of the Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF) is to reduce traffic-related deaths and injuries. TIRF is an independent, charitable road safety research institute. Since its inception in 1964, TIRF has become internationally recognized for its accomplishments in identifying the causes of road crashes and developing programs and policies to address them effectively.

About the poll:
These results are based on the RSM, an annual public opinion poll developed and conducted by TIRF. A total of 2,018 Canadians completed the poll in September of 2017. Results can be considered accurate within plus or minus 2.2%, 19 times out of 20. The majority of the questions were answered using a scale from one to six where six indicated high agreement, concern, or support and one indicated low agreement, concern or support. Similar to 2014, 2015 and 2016 all of the respondents completed the survey online.

® State Farm and related trademarks and logos are registered trademarks owned by State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, used under licence by Certas Home and Auto Insurance Company and certain of its affiliates.

SOURCE Traffic Injury Research Foundation

Shoppers urged to keep their vehicles free of valuables

With malls filled with holiday shoppers, parking lots and unattended vehicles become alluring targets for thieves. About 10,000 vehicle break-ins were reported across the province last year. ICBC is reminding drivers that they can help prevent auto crime from happening to them over the holidays by keeping their vehicle free of valuables – including those holiday parcels.

Tips for preventing auto crime

  • Remove valuables from your vehicle. Holiday gifts, shopping bags, electronics and even loose change can all tempt a thief. Shoppers should also try to avoid making multiple trips back to their vehicle to drop off their bags as thieves may be watching.

  • Park in secure, well-lit areas. Always lock your doors and close the windows and sunroof, even if you’re only away from your vehicle for a few minutes.

  • Treat your keys like cash. It’s easy to forget about keys in a coat pocket or gym locker, but you should never leave your keys unattended in a public place.

  • Use an immobilizer or steering wheel lock. Additional anti-theft devices can help secure your vehicle, particularly if it was manufactured before 2007.

Drivers should be aware that the contents of their vehicle aren’t covered by insurance. However, if a vehicle has been damaged as a result of theft, ICBC customers that have Comprehensive or Specified Perils coverage can file a claim. The average cost of a vehicle break-in claim is approximately $1,200*.

Statistics

In 2016, 10,000 vehicle break-ins across the province were reported to ICBC.

  • 8,600 vehicle break-ins were reported in the Lower Mainland.

  • 410 vehicle break-ins were reported on Vancouver Island.

  • 640 vehicle break-ins were reported in the Southern Interior.

  • 180 vehicle break-ins were reported in the North Central region.

*Based on average cost of vehicle break-ins reported to ICBC from 2012-2016

Headlight Systems can be Complex to Police

In my time as a driver I’ve seen headlight technology progress from tungsten filament glass sealed beams to quartz halogen, high intensity discharge and now LED and even laser. There is more light on the road today from the driver’s point of view than there has ever been. While that can be a good thing if all that light is coming from your vehicle, it might not be so great if you are the one facing it.

Way back when, sealed beams tended to be dimmer and more yellowish. They were not that bright in comparison to modern systems but a driver failing to dim them was more nuisance than hazard. It was also easy to overdrive their illumination.

Quartz halogen introduced a brighter, whiter light with a filament that would last longer too. Initially, they came in a sealed beam but progressed to a housing with a replaceable bulb.

The light that they emitted was more controlled and often had an obvious pattern. They could throw more light down the road on low beam and increase your margin of safety.

High intensity discharge (HID) lamps replace the tungsten filament with a tube of gas that glowed brightly when high voltage electricity was passed through it. These were efficient and could emit a lot of light in the visible part of the spectrum in comparison to filament bulbs.

HID does have drawbacks, emitting light that tends to be bluer which we may see as producing more glare. As they age, the light emitted tends to be even more blue.

LED is efficient and can be mechanically or digitally controlled to direct light where it is needed and changes can occur in milliseconds.

Laser headlights (currently high beam only) direct laser light onto a phosphor that then glows and is emitted by the headlight.

In North America the Society of Automotive Engineers sets the standards for vehicle lighting. The federal government incorporates these standards into the Motor Vehicle Safety Act and Regulations to control how the vehicles on our highways are built. British Columbia enacts provincial legislation to insure that lighting systems continue to be used and maintained to these standards.

Policing these rules can be complex. The tungsten sealed beam system was simple and from a policing point of view it was pretty much a working / not working determination.

Replaceable tungsten halogen bulbs started the requirement for police and facility vehicle inspectors to have more detailed knowledge. Over wattage bulbs, tinted lenses, or their replacement with either HID or LED assemblies that fit but were not designed to allow the housings that contained them to distribute their light properly became a common nuisance.

It is now simple to purchase all manner of lighting on line that is marked to masquerade as meeting standards or is not marked, much less meeting any standard at all.

There is no guarantee that any of these items will produce the proper light that you need to see with or won’t be dangerous for other drivers that you share the road with.

To counter this, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure publishes an inspection and approval protocol for vehicle lighting. While this may be practical to use in a designated inspection facility it does serve to help police at the roadside determine that problems may exist. When there is a valid suspicion the most effective policing tool may be to order the vehicle to a designated inspection facility for closer scrutiny.

Are you sharing the road? Study finds most severe collisions involve pedestrians and cyclists

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Do you really need winter tires? It’s absolutely ‘crucial’, expert says

Do you really need winter tires? It’s absolutely ‘crucial’, expert says

Every year when temperature starts the drop and snow starts to fall, the winter tires debate springs up. From questions about when to put them on, to discussions about their cost versus road safety, consensus on the winter tire argument never seems to happen.

Each province has varying regulations and recommendation for winter tires. In Quebec, according to the provincial Highway Safety Code, all drivers must have winter tires on from December 15 to March 15 inclusively. Failure to do so can result in fines of up to $300.

In Ontario, for example, there isn’t specific legislation around winter tires but you can save on your insurance premium if you use them. According to the Ontario Ministry of Financewinter tires that are in good condition can shorten braking distances by as much as 25 per cent.

Although regulations differ across the country, insurance companies and driving experts alike agree that putting winter tires on your car, no matter where you live Canada or the vehicle you drive, is imperative for winter road safety.

“Many people think winter tires are only important when driving in snowy or icy conditions but they also help with handling, maneuverability and braking in cold weather,” Kaitlynn Furse, public relations manager, CAA South Central Ontario (CAA SCO) said in a statement.

According to Andrew Comrie-Picard, a BFGoodrich ambassador, professional racer driver and stunt driver for film and television shows such as Top Gear USA and NCIS New Orleans, it’s “crucial” that every driver uses winter tires in below freezing temperatures, even if you have an all-wheel drive of four-wheel drive vehicle.

“Any tire is developed and optimized for a certain type of service use, and the conditions that we see in Canada are some of the most extreme winter conditions in the whole world,” Comrie-Picard said. “In the winter, all an all-wheel drive car will do is get you to the accident faster because while four driving wheels help you accelerate forward, they don’t help you stop any faster.”

Despite expert, insurance and government commentary on the importance of winter tires, drivers still have doubts and criticism about these seasonal products.

Why you need them

The importance of winter tires comes down the tires’ ability to grip onto the road and perform at lower temperature, so you can brake and steer effectively in the winter season. Contrary to popular belief, the necessity of winter tires is related to temperature more so than precipitation.

Winter tires…are optimized to stay flexible, and to maintain the chemical and mechanical grip on the road at lower temperatures,” Comrie-Picard said. “[Winter tires] maintain their grip for breaking, for steering and also for accelerating in those low temperatures.”

How they’re different

Winter tires contain a special rubber compound that keeps tires soft. Due to their flexibility, winter tires are specifically manufactured to ensure that tread blocks retain their structure with the softer compound.

Winter tires also have small edges or cuts that act as pressurizers on the surface. They pick up a little bit of snow, which grips onto more snow that is on the road.

The mechanics of a winter tire might make sense, but the most popular complaint that drivers have is the cost of these specialty tires. 

Why the alternatives wont’ work

Since the cost of winter tires is so high, some drivers opt for used tires as a way to save a few dollars, but professionals like Comrie-Picard are strongly against it.

A used tire, by definition, is going to have less than brand new tread depth, you’re already compromising some traction and some safety,” Comrie-Picard said.

Young adults ‘putting themselves at fraud risk’ by sharing details online

Young adults ‘putting themselves at fraud risk’ by sharing details online

Irish Examinar

Young adults’ willingness to share personal information with others online could be putting them at greater risk of fraud, a report warns.

While older people are often seen as less tech-savvy, potentially putting them at greater risk of fraud, UK bank NatWest found that less cautious behaviour among those aged 18 to 24 years old in particular could be making them vulnerable.

NatWest, which commissioned think tank Policy Network to look into financial fraud trends, found more than 80% of young adults in this age group are willing to share their email address online with their friends, and as many as 29% are willing to share their mother’s maiden name – a commonly used security question.

This contrasts with just 60% of over-55s willing to share their email address, and only 12% willing to share their mother’s maiden name.

The report was launched at a fraud summit being held by NatWest.

David Lowe, NatWest’s head of fraud prevention, said traditionally the view has been that older people are most at risk of financial fraud.

He said: “Whilst fraud is still prevalent in this age category, we are seeing an increasing trend in younger ’digital natives’ falling victim to online fraud.”

Matthew Laza, director at Policy Network, said: “We need to ensure that today’s school children don’t become another ’generation scammed’.

“As more and more of life moves online this is a real danger for the future.”

Research for this report involved a review of available data on fraud and scams, analysis of YouGov survey data, and interviews with fraud experts.

Source: www.irishexaminer.com

 

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