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?

I 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

September is Distracted Driving Awareness Month. #EyesForwardBC #DriveSmartBC

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Think a police officer can’t tell if you’re driving stoned? Think again!

Think a police officer can’t tell if you’re driving stoned? Think again!

August’s Traffic Safety Spotlight focuses on impaired driving

“I drive better when I’m high!”

“They’ll never catch me!”

“Pffft. That will never hold up in court!”

Sound familiar? There are plenty of misconceptions floating around regarding marijuana use and driving. The truth is that it’s illegal and will continue to be illegal in Saskatchewan to drive while impaired – whether by drugs or alcohol – even once marijuana use becomes legal in Canada on Oct. 17, 2018.

Think about it: people don’t smoke marijuana so they can feel the exact same. It is an impairing substance that alters your perception – and it increases your chances of being in a crash.

“To put it simply, impaired is impaired,” said Penny McCune, Chief Operating Officer of the Auto Fund. “Any substance that alters your thinking will impact your ability to drive safely. If you smoke marijuana, you should not get behind the wheel until you’re sure the effects have fully worn off.”

Smoking marijuana affects judgment, reaction time, motor coordination and ability to make decisions. It can also cause paranoia, drowsiness, distorted perception and a sense of disorientation – all of which could cause you to lose control at the wheel. Mixing drugs and alcohol increases impairment even more.

If you think police won’t be able to tell if you’re driving while high, think again. Weaving within a lane, following a vehicle too closely, making unsafe turns – these can all be indications that a driver is high. Marijuana can also be detected by odor and by the driver’s physical appearance – including dilated pupils, poor balance and co-ordination.

If the police suspect that a driver is impaired by a drug or alcohol or a combination of both, they can make a demand that the driver take a standardized field sobriety test at roadside. If the officer has reasonable grounds to believe that a driver is impaired by a drug, they can make a demand that the driver submit to an evaluation conducted by a Drug Recognition Evaluator (DRE).

“Drug Recognition Evaluators undergo extensive training and use a rigorous, scientific 12-step procedure in performing the evaluation,” said Cpl. Brian Ferguson, Provincial DRE Training Coordinator. “The evaluation must show impairment, signs and symptoms consistent with one or more drug categories, and the evaluator’s findings must be supported by the toxicology.”

More and more police in Saskatchewan are being trained to recognize signs of impairment from drugs. There are currently 74 DRE-certified officers in the province, with 20 to 40 new officers trained each year.

But will these tests hold up in court? Absolutely. Drug recognition evaluations have been accepted by Canadian courts as legally binding evidence in impaired driving cases for many years.

So, don’t drive high. It’s not worth it and you’re going to get caught. Impaired drivers in Saskatchewan face some of the toughest administrative sanctions in the country, with immediate licence suspensions and vehicle seizures at roadside. Upon conviction, further penalties imposed by the courts may include fines, jail time and long-term driving restrictions.

Follow these tips to keep you and yours safe:

  • Be a Good Wingman – don’t let impaired friends drive.
  • Don’t drive high – weed increases your chances of getting into a collision and when combined with alcohol, impairment increases significantly.
  • Plan a safe ride home – impaired driving is 100% preventable.
  • Remember – it is illegal to operate any kind of motor vehicle while impaired by any substance. Police are trained to check for and recognize drug impairment.Hashtag alert! A ticket you’ll WANT to getWhile police will be looking for impaired drivers throughout August, some will also be handing out “positive tickets” to drivers who aren’t impaired. Any driver who receives one can post a picture of it on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter and use the hashtag #CareAboutImpaired to be eligible to win one of 25 $150 Visa gift cards. This is one of five new impaired driving initiatives being piloted in Saskatchewan this month. #HowAreYouGettingHomeOur friends at MADD Canada are partnering with a number of organizations to raise awareness over the August long weekend on the dangers of impaired driving. You can be a part of the conversation by following @Sask0804 on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and using the hashtag #HowAreYouGettingHome.

And, since you’re online anyway, visit SGI’s website at www.sgi.sk.ca for more information about impaired driving consequences. Follow SGI on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram for safety tips to #TakeCareOutThere.

Government to Test New and Collaborative Approach to Help Tackle Impaired Driving

Released on July 30, 2018

A new, collaborative approach to help address impaired driving in Saskatchewan will be tested by the Government of Saskatchewan from the August long weekend until Labour Day. Five pilot projects have been designed through collaboration between various government ministries and agencies, law enforcement and Crown corporations. These projects will be implemented in different areas across the province.

“Saskatchewan has a problem with impaired driving and it’s important we approach this issue with all the tools at our disposal, because even one death or injury from impaired driving is too many,” Minister Responsible for Innovation Saskatchewan Tina Beaudry-Mellor said. “Government, law enforcement and Crown corporations have come together on these five pilot projects that present innovative ways to look at a critical problem facing our province.”

The projects are:

Drive Dollars
Lead: Innovation Saskatchewan

Overview: In this project, bar patrons will be asked (as they order drinks) if they would like to put a small amount of money toward a “tab” for a designated driving service.  This amount of money will be matched by the provincial government and the designated driving service. The project will gather data and assess whether a small matching contribution by the government would increase the likelihood of bar patrons planning ahead for a safe ride home.
Liquor Permit Regulatory Review
Lead: Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority
Overview: This project added two questions to the liquor permit application, to prompt applicants to develop a plan for guests to have a safe ride home.Positive Ticketing
Lead: SGI
Overview: The project aim is for police officers to give a “positive ticket” to sober/designated drivers at scheduled police check stops and/or routine traffic stops.  The tickets will encourage recipients to speak about their experience on social media using the hashtag #CareAboutImpaired. Ticket recipients who use the hashtag publicly will be eligible to win one of 25 $150 VISA gift cards.Sobering Messages
Lead: Ministry of Corrections and Policing
Overview: This project is focused on impact messaging through a couple of streams.

  • Community Engagement: having police officers visit local bars and pubs to encourage patrons to plan ahead and plan a safe ride home.
  • Social Media Campaign building awareness around and promoting responsible use: the social media handles on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook are @Sask0804 using the #howareyougettinghome (Sask0804 refers to the August long weekend date as well as the impairment levels under the criminal code).

Packaging Innovation
Lead: Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority
Overview: This project involves placing children’s drawings on brown liquor store bags, to get people to consider and discuss the consequences of impaired driving.

Once complete, the project results will be analyzed to understand what initiatives may have the potential to reduce impaired driving in Saskatchewan when implemented on a larger scale.

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