Canadians demanding technology relief from Distracted Driving: Aviva poll

A groundbreaking new opinion poll of Canadians shows they have the answer to texting and driving – and it’s not peer pressure or police crackdowns.

Instead, the majority of Canadians in a new public opinion poll by Aviva Canada believe only a technology solution that blocks drivers from using texting and other phone messaging functions while driving will ultimately solve the problem and make roads safer.

Distracted driving kills. More Canadians die on our roads from distracted driving than from impaired driving. The RCMP says that in 4-out-of-5 collisions, drivers have their eyes off the road for just three seconds prior to crashing.

Aviva has long fought distracted driving, launching the Driving Change Together campaign in 2015 and increasing its efforts this year by launching the #avivayolo campaign https://avivayolo.com.

For this new report, Aviva surveyed 1,504 Canadians between August 8-13 with Pollara Strategic Insights.

An overwhelming number of Canadians – 95 per cent of respondents – said texting and driving by others makes them feel unsafe on the roads. A total of 88 per cent of Canadians have witnessed other drivers texting while behind the wheel, while only 22 per cent admitted texting while driving themselves.

“For the first time, what we are seeing is that Canadians don’t think social persuasion or law enforcement strategies against distracted driving are working, and they feel technology is the only realistic answer,” said Aviva Canada Presidentand CEO Greg Somerville.

Canadians are aware of efforts to socially stigmatize distracted driving. They are also aware of increased penalties and demerit points. However, only 48 per cent of Canadians think fines and demerits are a deterrent, while only 32 per cent said they think peer pressure will work.

Instead, almost 4-in-5 Canadians – 78 per cent – said they want to see a technology solution that would stop distracted driving by disabling texting and other functions while the driver is behind the wheel. This week (Sept. 19) Apple’s new iOS operating system debuted a ‘do not disturb while driving’ feature. This is progress as almost three-quarters of Canadians (73 per cent) in our poll said they would use anti-texting technology.

#PutDownYourPhone

*NOTE: A pdf copy of the opinion poll results is available from Aviva Canada.

About Aviva Canada

Aviva Canada Inc. is one of the leading property and casualty insurance groups in the country providing home, automobile, leisure/lifestyle and business insurance to 2.9 million customers. A wholly-owned subsidiary of UK-based Aviva plc, the company has more than 4,000 employees focused on creating a bright and sustainable future for their customers and communities.

Aviva Canada invests in positive change through the Aviva Community Fund, Canada’s longest running online community funding competition. Since its inception in 2009, the Aviva Community Fund has awarded $7.5 million to over 250 charities and community groups nationwide. Aviva Canada, bringing over 300 years of good thinking and insurance solutions to Canadians from coast-to-coast.

For more information visit avivacanada.com

SOURCE Aviva Canada Inc.

 

SGI: Embrace the zipper merge! Plus, other changes in the latest Driver’s Handbook

SGI News Release

Has this ever happened to you? You’re entering a construction zone and the lane you’re in will be closing, so you signal and merge into the continuing lane. Meanwhile, the driver who was previously behind you keeps going in the original lane and merges into the continuing lane at the last minute, well ahead of you. What’s up with that? Is that a fair move?

Yes – that driver was simply doing a zipper merge, which allows drivers to use both lanes until the closing lane ends, then alternate in a ‘zipper’ fashion into the open lane. Vehicles in the closing lane must signal, shoulder check and merge when safe, and each driver in the open lane should let in one vehicle.

“Saskatchewan, it is time to officially embrace the zipper merge,” said Earl Cameron, Executive Vice President of the Auto Fund. “Some people think zipper-merging is rude, but it’s not. When a lane is closing, slowing down to change lanes well ahead of the merge point slows traffic unnecessarily, and can cause congestion.”

Zipper merging benefits all drivers in both lanes, making traffic flow more quickly and efficiently. It also creates fairness and eliminates the stress of the ‘other’ lane moving faster than yours, as everyone can now travel at the same speed. If everyone is courteous and cooperative (courtesy waves encouraged), everyone will zip through quickly!

A new section featuring zipper merges is featured in the latest edition of the Saskatchewan Driver’s Handbook. The Handbook is updated and re-printed each fall. The Handbook isn’t just a study guide to pass the learner’s licence exam; it’s a fantastic resource for all drivers, no matter their age or driving experience.

Other new information in this year’s edition:

  • Tougher impaired driving and cellphone laws that came into effect Jan. 1, 2017
  • Best practice is for hand positions at “9 and 3” or “8 and 4” on the steering wheel, not “10 and 2”
  • Tow trucks can have blue and amber flashing lights; slow to 60 when lights are flashing
  • Addition of “in-laws” to family members who can ride with new drivers
  • Jaywalkers – you should always be prepared to stop if a jaywalker enters your path. But don’t wave them on or encourage them as the car behind or beside you may not see them.
  • Right of way in parking lots – rules of the road to follow when it comes to thoroughfares and feeder lanes

The Saskatchewan Driver’s Handbook is available online, or you can pick up a printed version at any SGI motor licence issuer or driver exam office.

 

New Web-Based Resource Launched to Help Prevent Drug-Impaired Driving

The Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF), in partnership with State Farm® Canada, has launched a Drug-Impaired Driving Learning Centre (DIDLC). The Centre is a web-based resource that was designed to share the latest research about the problem, increase awareness, and inform the development of effective strategies to tackle it.

Drug-impaired driving has become a top priority among governments, law enforcement, and other road safety stakeholders in the past few years. Increases in the proportion of drivers who self-report driving within two hours of consuming drugs, combined with increases in the proportion of drivers killed in road crashes who tested positive for drugs, warrant attention and concern. Public awareness of the impairing effects of many drugs is quite low, and strategies to reduce the prevalence of this problem are much needed.

The effects of alcohol consumption on driving are widely acknowledged; however, much less is known about the effects of different drugs on driving. This, in combination with the permissive attitudes among young drivers towards marijuana and driving, suggests that work is needed to increase awareness about the risks.

“More public awareness and education about the impacts of drug-impaired driving are essential to combatting its consequences,” said John Bordignon, Media Relations State Farm Canada. “Recent State Farm surveys reveal about half of cannabis users that drive feel the drug does not negatively affect their ability to operate a motor vehicle. With impending legalization of recreational marijuana and the opioid crisis in parts of Canada, a factual, publicly available resource like the DIDLC is a valuable tool that can help prevent injury and save lives.”

“The science of drug impairment is much more complex as compared to alcohol impairment,” said Robyn Robertson, President & CEO of TIRF. “The multitude and diversity of legal and illegal drugs, prescription drugs, and over-the-counter medications that can impair driving is substantial. Moreover, the impairing effects of some drugs may vary based on user characteristics and the conditions under which drugs are consumed.”

The good news is that research investigating drug-impaired driving has grown exponentially in the past few years. Studies exploring this topic have been conducted across many disciplines including road safety, justice, health, and neuroscience to name a few. The bad news is that this rapid proliferation of research can make it challenging for decision-makers, governments, law enforcement and health practitioners to keep pace with the latest knowledge.

“Drug-impaired driving is a source of concern for many stakeholders because this cross-cutting issue affects drivers of all ages,” said Dr. Ward Vanlaar, Chief Operating Officer at TIRF. “According to TIRF’s National Fatality Database, 44.5% of drivers killed in road crashes tested positive for drugs in 2013; a larger proportion than those drivers testing positive for alcohol (31.6%). Whereas young drivers were more likely to test positive for marijuana, older drivers were more likely to test positive for prescription drugs.”

TIRF created the DIDLC to support the efforts of governments and road safety stakeholders to prevent and reduce drug-impaired driving. This comprehensive resource contains several modules and is structured in a user-friendly, accessible, question and answer format. It also includes a variety of fact sheets that can be used by health professionals, teachers, parents and teens to increase knowledge and awareness about drug-impaired driving. The resource can be accessed at: www.druggeddriving.tirf.ca.

Fast Facts

According to TIRF’s 2016 Road Safety Monitor on Drugs & Driving:

  • Approximately 2.2% of drivers self-reported driving within two hours of using marijuana in 2016 compared to 1.6% in 2013.

According to the Alcohol and Drug Crash Problem in Canada 2013 Report:

  • In 2013 fatally injured young drivers (26-35 years old) were more likely to test positive for drugs (50.3%) than any other age group.
  • Male drivers accounted for 76.2% of all fatally injured drivers who tested positive for drugs.
  • Fatally injured drivers who tested positive for drugs were more likely to be involved in a single vehicle collision (48.2%).
  • Among those who tested positive for drugs, cannabis was the most frequently detected drug among fatally injured drivers.

About TIRF

Established in 1964, TIRF’s mission is to reduce traffic-related deaths and injuries. As a national, independent, charitable road safety institute, TIRF designs, promotes, and implements effective programs and policies, based on sound research. TIRF is a registered charity and depends on grants, contracts, and donations to provide services for the public. Visit us online at www.tirf.ca.

About the State Farm brand in Canada.

In January 2015, State Farm Canada operations were purchased by the Desjardins Group, the leading cooperative financial group in Canada and among the three largest P&C insurance providers in Canada. With its 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 OntarioAlberta 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.

SOURCE Traffic Injury Research Foundation

High Collision Location Signs – DriveSmartBC

I live near a section of Highway 19 that travels through a built up area. The highway changes from 4 lanes divided by a barrier with a posted speed of 90 km/h to 4 lanes that is not divided posted at 60 km/h. So few people slow to 60 that I often hear long time locals asking new residents if they have gotten a speeding ticket there yet.

Before the median barrier was installed, this 60 km/h zone was part of the highest collision zone policed by Central Vancouver Island Traffic Services.

Nanoose Bay Highway Cam

A couple of afternoons ago there was a two vehicle collision in that 60 zone that blocked northbound traffic. I posted details on Facebook in a local resident’s group as there was no path around the collision scene and traffic would be held up until emergency services dealt with the situation.

The post triggered a discussion that included frustrated comments on how difficult it was to get onto the highway from side roads and that drivers regularly failed to stop for the traffic light in the middle of the zone.

Since this is a high collision area, it was also suggested that the appropriate authority be contacted to have a sign to that effect posted with the hope that drivers would slow down.

Which would you rather do when turning left from a stop sign, cross two lanes of traffic to enter a third lane when everyone is travelling at 60 km/h or at 90 km/h?

Why is that such an easy choice when you are turning from a side road, but not when you are the through traffic?

I’ve seen some novel ways to cope such as turning into the oncoming left turn lane and then moving right into the through lane.

The traffic lights at the intersection are preceeded by advance warning signs. One would think that if the drivers were paying attention red light running would not occur.

Having said that, I wonder if the advanced warning lights are timed for drivers who are obeying the speed limit. If they are, the lights will not come on soon enough to provide sufficient warning for those that remained at 90 km/h (or more).

The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) installed a dynamic speed display sign on the southbound side of the zone. It is unfortunate that the area is not covered by a traffic count station so that we can see if there has been an improvement or not.

There is some indication of high collision area signs for wildlife having an effect on driver’s speeds but I was not able to find data not related to wildlife. Do you suppose that drivers who don’t obey the 60 km/h speed signs will pay more attention to a high collision area sign? Perhaps.

About a decade ago I attended an open house hosted by the MOTI. They presented four plans for public comment on modifications to this stretch of highway so that drivers could travel through safely at 90 km/h instead of having to slow to 60 km/h. Aside from the installation of some median barriers, no other construction has taken place.

That decade has also seen the average annual daily traffic volume increase from 27,740 to 30,848 vehicles.

Of course, until the budget is found for changes, the simplest way to make this highway safer is for us all to share it unselfishly. If we slow to 60 km/h and stop properly for the red light chances are good that there will be fewer collisions like this one.

Autonomous Vehicle Working Group has representatives from every province and Transport Canada

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Distracted driving results in more deaths in B.C. than impaired driving

Distracted driving results in more deaths in B.C. than impaired driving

ICBC, government and police are reminding drivers to “take a break from their phone”

Distracted driving continues to claim more lives on B.C. roads than impaired driving.

Despite tougher penalties, more police enforcement and continued public education, on average, 78 people still don’t make it home to their families every year because of distracted and inattentive drivers*. In contrast, an average of 66 people are killed each year due to impaired driving. In fact, distraction and driver inattention is one of the top contributing factors in motor vehicle fatalities in BC and contributes to more than one quarter of all car crash deaths.**

In a recent Ipsos Reid study conducted for ICBC, nearly all respondents agreed that it is extremely risky to use their hand-held phone while driving; however, 38 per cent of drivers said that they use their phone during at least 10 per cent of the trips they take.

This month, drivers will be hearing one united message – take a break from your phone when you’re behind the wheel.

Police across B.C. are ramping up distracted driving enforcement in September, and community volunteers are conducting Cell Watch deployments to remind drivers to take a break from their phone when driving.

New this year, ICBC is working with four car share companies in B.C. – Car2Go, Evo, Modo and Zipcar – which will help spread the message to car share customers, ensuring more B.C. drivers are aware of the risks of driving while distracted.

The campaign will feature new TV and radio advertising, airing throughout the province from September 8 to October 11, as well as digital and social media advertising.

Free ‘not while driving’ decals are available at ICBC driver licensing offices and participating Autoplan broker offices for drivers to show their support and encourage other road users to follow their example.

You can view more tips and statistics in an infographic at icbc.com.

Quotes:

David Eby, Attorney General

“Distracted driving is entirely preventable, as are the crashes and casualties caused by the behaviour. To address this issue, our government is moving forward with a pilot program of new technologies to eliminate distracted driving among high-risk groups, and to increase public awareness of the risks of this dangerous driving behaviour. Drivers need to be part of the solution too: put down your phones before driving; keep them out of reach; and keep yourself, your passengers and other road users safe.”

Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth

“Heading into the school year, I’d like to remind everyone to be safe behind the wheel and keep your eyes on the road at all times. Drivers are facing higher fines, more penalty points and possible driving prohibitions for repeat offences with legislation that came into effect on June 1, 2016. Distracted driving is a high-risk driving offence, which makes it equivalent to excessive speeding, and driving without due care and attention. If your vehicle isn’t equipped for hands-free use of your handheld device, turn off the ringer before you turn on the ignition.”

Superintendent Davis Wendell, OIC E Division Traffic Services and Vice-Chair, B.C. Association of Chiefs of Police Traffic Safety Committee

“The law is clear: you must leave your phone alone when operating a vehicle,” said Superintendent Davis Wendell, OIC E Division Traffic Services and Vice-Chair, B.C. Association of Chiefs of Police Traffic Safety Committee. “Police will be out in full force this month reminding you to put your phone away when you’re behind the wheel. No text or call is worth the risk.”

Lindsay Matthews, ICBC’s director responsible for road safety:

“Distracted driving results in more fatalities than impaired driving, and is also one of the leading contributors of crashes with pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists,” said Lindsay Matthews, ICBC’s director responsible for road safety. “It’s time we all commit to taking a break from our phone and stop driving distracted.”

Regional statistics**:

  • Every year, on average, 26 people are killed in distracted driving-related crashes in the Lower Mainland.

  • Every year, on average, 8 people are killed in distracted driving-related crashes on Vancouver Island.

  • Every year, on average, 32 people are killed in distracted driving-related crashes in the Southern Interior.

  • Every year, on average, 14 people are killed in distracted driving-related crashes in the North Central region.

*Includes talking, texting or using a device while driving.
**Police data from 2011 to 2015. Distraction: where one or more of the vehicles involved had contributing factors including use of communication/video equipment, driver inattentive and driver internal/external distraction.

Joanna Linsangan
604-982-2480

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