Stay safe, stay alert: Labour Day long weekend could spell 2,000 crashes on B.C. roads

Stay safe, stay alert: Labour Day long weekend could spell 2,000 crashes on B.C. roads

As British Columbians ramp up to enjoy the final weekend of summer holidays, drivers are encouraged to stay safe and stay alert when behind the wheel. ICBC anticipates as many as 2,000 crashes to occur this long weekend. About six people are killed and 520 people are injured every Labour Day long weekend.

Drivers should expect more volume on highways and roads with people taking their final summer road trip.

ICBC warns drivers to watch for drowsy drivers and to look out for symptoms of fatigue in themselves. According to drivers participating in a recent poll* by ICBC, more than half (55%) reported to being tired at least some of the time when travelling long distances.

Drowsiness can cause drivers to lose focus, slow their reaction time, impair their vision, and affect their ability to make good driving decisions.

Warning signs:

  • Drifting out of your lane
  • Inconsistent speed
  • Erratic braking
  • Missing an exit or turn
  • Frequent yawning
  • Frequent blinking
  • Loss of concentration

How to protect yourself:

  • Get enough sleep. Most people need seven to nine hours of sleep to be well-rested and alert the next day.

  • Travel in the morning. Sleepiness can affect people throughout the day, but drivers are prone to drowsy driving in the late-afternoon and late at night when the body’s circadian rhythm dips.**

  • Take frequent breaks. Schedule a break at least once every two hours. Use this time to send an update to family and friends, or to check road conditions. There are currently two rest areas that have free Wi-Fi – the Britton Creek stop on the Coquihalla near Merritt, and the Glacier View rest area on Highway 16 near Smithers.

  • Share the driving with others. Split the responsibility to get to your destination safely with other drivers in your vehicle.

Drivers are encouraged to plan ahead by visiting drivebc.ca for the latest road conditions.

Regional statistics***:

  • 390 people are injured in 1,300 crashes in the Lower Mainland over the Labour Day long weekend.
  • 51 people are injured in 270 crashes on Vancouver Island over the Labour Day long weekend.
  • 63 people are injured in 310 crashes in the Southern Interior over the Labour Day long weekend.
  • 16 people are injured in 120 crashes in North Central B.C. over the Labour Day long weekend.

Labour Day crashes are calculated from 18:00 the Friday prior to the holiday to midnight Monday.

*Long weekend survey with ICBC Customer Advisory Panel, 1087 total respondents, May 2017
** Source: Transport Canada
***Fatality data is police data based on five year average (2011 to 2015). Crash and injury data is ICBC data from 2015.

Media contact

Joanna Linsangan
604-982-2480

belairdirect uncovers Canadians’ willingness to change driving habits for the right incentive

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More than one quarter of Canadians want to hold on to their driver’s licence past 85 years of age

AURORA, ON, Aug. 2, 2017 /CNW/ – As Canadian boomers age, the number of elderly drivers on our roads increases. Statistics Canada’s 2016 census reveals that those 65 years of age and over now outnumber those 14 years of age and under for the first time ever. But vital conversations about how to determine when a person is unfit to drive are difficult.

According to a recent national survey from State Farm Canada, one in ten respondents has been in a collision involving a senior citizen. And while 94 per cent of respondents believe that individuals should speak with senior family members about giving up their licence if they are concerned about their safety, only 2 per cent of seniors surveyed said that a family member has had that conversation with them.

In a 2011 report, Transport Canada stated that drivers aged 65 and over represent 17 per cent of fatalities though they only account for 14 per cent of licensed drivers1. And the rate of fatalities per distance travelled increases considerably at age 75. As seniors age, they are more likely to develop physical and cognitive infirmities.

“Canadians are conflicted when it comes to the balance between road safety and the autonomy associated with driving.” says John Bordignon, Media Relations, State Farm Canada. “These are extremely difficult discussions for families to have. When a person is deemed unfit to drive, it can feel like a sudden loss of independence. To make the transition easier, it’s important for family members to have supportive conversations early on and explore transportation alternatives over time, so that changes in lifestyle come gradually.”

Tough Conversations
Just 33 per cent of respondents to State Farm Canada’s survey say that they have had a conversation with a senior family member about giving up their licence due to concerns about safety, but when those conversations occur they don’t always go well.

Of those respondents who say they have spoken with a senior family member about giving up their licence, nearly 80 per cent said that they faced resistance from the family member.

When asked what they believe to be the biggest factors keeping seniors from giving up their licence, 74 per cent said a loss of independence, 12 per cent said a lack of awareness about the warning signs of driving incapacity, 6 per cent said lack of public transportation, and 4 per cent said the cost of taxis.

A Driver’s Age 
According to research conducted by the Traffic Injury Research Foundation in 2016, drivers aged 65 and older are over-represented in crashes, particularly those aged 80 and older2. Partly because seniors are more susceptible to injury and less likely to survive a serious collision than younger drivers. Drivers 65 and over are also susceptible to age-related declines in reaction time and mobility, and can be affected by factors such as heart disease, visual impairment, dementia, and impairment due to prescription medication.

“When reviewing the evidence, it becomes clear that elderly drivers are overrepresented in fatal and severe crashes due to a variety of factors associated with advancing age”, explains Ward Vanlaar. Chief Operating Officer of TIRF. “One solution is identifying health issues that affect driving ability and having conversations with family members about looking for alternatives. Ensuring a senior can continue to drive safely will have positive effects on their quality of life, but there comes a time when it might be safer to let someone else take the wheel.”

Hanging up the Keys
The State Farm Canada survey indicates that Canadian seniors are reluctant to give up their keys with 26 per cent saying they want to hold onto their licence past 85 years of age.

So when the time finally comes, what are the factors that would lead someone to give up their licence? According to respondents 65 years of age and older, the three biggest factors affecting their decision are advice from a medical professional (94 per cent), concerned family members and friends (27 per cent), and a collision (14 per cent).

Additional Resources
This is the second of three news releases State Farm Canada will distribute in 2017 revealing survey results and the opinions of Canadians about their driving habits and road safety.

To find out more about how State Farm works to improve road safety in Canada, please visit www.statefarm.ca/autosafety

About the Survey
The online survey, conducted in March 2017, polled 3,581 respondents of driving age across Canada.

About State Farm
In January 2015, State Farm’s Canadian operations were purchased by Desjardins Group, the leading cooperative financial group in Canada and among the three largest P&C insurance providers in Canada. With its approximately 500 dedicated agents and 1700 employees, the State Farm division provides insurance and financial services products including mutual funds, life insurance, vehicle loans, critical illness, disability, home and auto insurance to customers in Ontario, Alberta and New Brunswick. For more information, visit www.statefarm.ca, join us on Facebook – www.facebook.com/statefarmcanada, or follow us on Twitter – www.twitter.com/statefarmcanada.

®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.

©Copyright 2017, Certas Home and Auto Insurance Company.

1 Road Safety in Canada, Transport Canada, https://www.tc.gc.ca/media/documents/roadsafety/tp15145e.pdf.

2 The Role of Driver Agein Fatally injured Driversin Canada, Traffic Injury Research Foundation, http://tirf.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/The-Role-of-Driver-Age-in-Fatally-Injured-Drivers-2000-2013-13.pdf

SOURCE State Farm

Collision likelihood increases; don’t become a statistic

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Crashes on the rise in B.C.; new ICBC campaign targets bad driving habits

Crashes on the rise in B.C.; new ICBC campaign targets bad driving habits

August 3, 2017

According to a new survey completed by Insights West, most drivers say that driving in the province has gotten worse in the last five years – pointing at bad driving behaviours as one of the top contributors to B.C.’s road problems.

Respondents feel that drivers today are more distracted, more aggressive and more impatient, making driving in B.C. more dangerous.

Despite this, the survey also found that 99% of all respondents considered themselves to be good or excellent drivers. Yet the same respondents:

  • incorrectly answered road test questions (over 3/4 of respondents, 78%, got at least one incorrect),

  • admitted to being an aggressive driver (1/5 of respondents, 18%),

  • said they might not follow road rules to make up time while driving (over 1/3 of respondents, 37%)

  • felt that it was OK to ‘bend the rules’ every once in a while if no other drivers were around (1/3 of respondents, 32%), and

  • confessed to driving in an emotional state at least some of the time (99% of all respondents).

ICBC has seen a marked increase in crashes in the last few years. The number of crashes across B.C. has jumped by 23 per cent in just three years – from 260,000 in 2013 to 320,000 in 2016. That’s an average of 875 crashes per day in the province.

To help combat this growing issue, ICBC is launching a new road safety campaign to encourage all drivers to reflect on their driving habits. The campaign will focus on many critical components to being a safe driver: our knowledge of the rules of the road, how we behave behind the wheel, and our attitude toward our responsibility as a driver. The campaign will include media advertisements, partnerships, public outreach and online resources, including an online quiz to help shine a light on areas where drivers may need improvement.

Quotes:

“Ultimately, our goal is to reduce the number crashes in B.C.,” said Mark Blucher, ICBC’s president and CEO. “Not only do crashes impact lives and cause serious damage, they also translate into costs pressures that affect insurance rates for all B.C. drivers. We’re asking everyone to help by doing their part through our Drive Smart campaign.”

“Ninety-six per cent of survey respondents were aware they have a critical role to play in improving the safety of our roads in B.C.,” said Mario Canseco, vice president of public affairs at Insights West. “This is a great starting point to open a dialogue with all drivers to take a look at their habits.”

Media contact:

Joanna Linsangan
604-982-2480

Don’t be a statistic: Over 2,400 crashes anticipated for the B.C. Day long weekend

Don’t be a statistic: Over 2,400 crashes anticipated for the B.C. Day long weekend

Drivers can expect more traffic on the road this weekend, with many people making local travel plans to enjoy the B.C. Day long weekend. But ICBC cautions drivers to remain vigilant during celebrations – over 2,400 crashes are anticipated during the upcoming long weekend.

And with many British Columbians setting out on a road trip, ICBC is reminding drivers to stay safe by giving large trucks and R.V.’s their space, especially on highways.

On average, there are over 500 crashes involving large trucks and 370 crashes involving R.V.’s in B.C. throughout the summer. Due to their sheer size and significant weight, crashes with trucks and other large vehicles are usually much more serious, with occupants of the smaller vehicle more likely to be seriously injured or killed.

ICBC offers the following tips to help prevent crashes with large vehicles:

  • Stay focused: Driver distraction is the top contributing factor in crashes involving large vehicles. Things like programming your GPS before leaving the driveway, asking a passenger to manage your texts and calls, and making sure children and pets are safely secured are surefire ways to ensure a smooth ride.

  • Allow space for roll backs: Heavy vehicles can roll back as far as 4.5 meters (15 feet) when stopped on a hill. If you’re stopped behind a truck, it’s best to give plenty of space between you and the truck ahead of you.

  • Drive out of blind spots: Keep clear of blind spots — there are large blind spots all around large vehicles, even in the front. When following, you should be able to see both mirrors of the R.V. or truck in front of you.

  • Leave more space to brake: If you’re passing a truck, remember to leave extra room before pulling back in. Trucks needs plenty of space to slow down – that’s why they leave lots of room in front of them. If you pull in too close, the truck driver may have to brake hard to avoid a crash (possibly jack-knifing in the process), or end up rear-ending you.

  • Have lots of space to pass: You need a lot of space when passing a large vehicle. Remember that trucks are long, with some pulling two trailers. Don’t pass unless you’re sure you have enough space. Remember it’s also the law to stay in the right lane except when you’re passing another vehicle.

  • Return the favour when merging: If a truck moves to the left lane to let you merge with traffic on a highway, slow down to let them return to the right lane in front of you. It helps them get out of the faster-moving left lane, and improves the flow of traffic.

  • Have a little patience: Although heavy vehicles have much more powerful engines than cars, they’re also much heavier, needing more time to reach the speed limit. If you’re following a slow-moving R.V. climbing up a hill, give them plenty of space with the understanding that they’re probably trying their very best to keep up with the flow of traffic.

B.C. Day long weekend statistics*:

  • Over the B.C. Day long weekend, five people are killed and 600 injured in 2,400 crashes throughout the province.

  • Over the B.C. Day long weekend, 420 people are injured in 1,500 crashes in the Lower Mainland.

  • Over the B.C. Day long weekend, 84 people are injured in 400 crashes in Southern Interior.

  • Over the B.C. Day long weekend, 20 people are injured in 130 crashes in northern B.C.

  • Over the B.C. Day long weekend, 85 people are injured in 350 crashes on Vancouver Island.

Large commercial vehicles and R.V. statistics:

  • There are over 500 crashes involving large commercial vehicles in B.C. throughout the summer.**

  • There are 370 crashes involving R.V.’s. in B.C. throughout the summer***

*Injured victims and crashes from 2015 ICBC data and fatal victims from police data five-year average (2010 to 2014).
**Average, 2011-2015 data for June, July and August.
***2009 – 2013 average for June, July and August. Includes motor homes, office trailers, house trailer, tent trailers and travel trailers.

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