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

New survey reveals unsafe school zones during 2018 back-to-school week

A new survey that shows unsafe driving by parents in school zones across BC during back-to-school has BCAA and Preventable taking action. To drive home the message to stop rushing in school zones, they have temporarily installed a 3D optical illusion of “Pavement Patty”, a child appearing to run across the street near a Burnaby school.

A new BC-wide survey conducted last week for BCAA by Insights West quizzed elementary school principals and teachers, as well as parents who drop off and pick up. Results show continued poor driving behaviours witnessed in school zones.

  • 80% witnessed speeding
  • 73% witnessed not stopping for crosswalks
  • 78% saw parents encouraging their kids to do unsafe things, such as crossing at a non-designated area
  • 74% report no improvement in key driving behaviours, saying levels of distracted driving, ignoring road rules or traffic signs are about the same as or worse than last year
  • A staggering 56% witnessed at least one near miss – a child almost hit by a car – this back to school week

Shawn Pettipas, BCAA’s director of community engagement is concerned about the results and is determined to work with Preventable because “we’ve got to get the message through to parents to stop rushing in school zones.”

Dr. Ian Pike, Co-Executive Director with Preventable, says that over the past ten years, hospitalizations and deaths among child pedestrians have not changed.

“We have brought back Pavement Patty to remind drivers that even at low speeds, children can be seriously injured or killed,” said Dr. Pike. “Slow down, leave the phone alone, and give the road your full attention.”

Meet “Pavement Patty”
“Pavement Patty” is a 3D illusion of a girl chasing a ball into the street, intended to remind drivers to slow down because unexpected incidents can and do happen. She’s installed in the school zone of Brentwood Park Elementary School in Burnaby as an unmissable visual cue to remind parents to take extra care, adhere to the speed limit, and reduce distractions.

The illusion is printed in weatherproof, skid-proof vinyl, installed directly on the street. A sign teasing “In a rush at a school zone? Seriously?” first alerts drivers. Then as drivers approach, they see the optical illusion of Patty appearing to cross the street. As she comes into view, she serves as a reminder to drivers to slow down.

The illusion made its debut in 2010 and was the first of its kind in Canada. At the time, “Pavement Patty” was highly successful in generating conversation in the community, the local media, and worldwide.

BCAA’s CEO Shom Sen sees the overwhelming benefits of the BCAA and Preventable partnership in bringing attention to important issues and saving lives. “Children should be safe in school zones,” Sen says. “It’s our responsibility as organizations, drivers and parents to take this aspect of road safety extremely seriously.”

“Pavement Patty” is on display in the school zone of Brentwood Park Elementary School in Burnaby until 4:00 p.m.Friday, September 21.

Media representatives from BCAA and Preventable will be available on-site for interviews:
Burnaby: Brentwood Park Elementary School on Tuesday, September 18 from 8:30 AM–9:30 AM.

Dash cam footage of the “Pavement Patty” optical illusion can be viewed here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=np0xhJawIm0&feature=youtu.be

About the survey Results from Insights West
Results are based on an online study conducted from September 7 to 10, 2018 among a representative sample of 849 adults in British Columbia, including 207 who currently serve as principals, teachers or school staff at a British Columbiaelementary school, or who are parents or guardians who drop off and/or pick up a child from school. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region. The margin of error for the entire sample—which measures sample variability—is +/- 3.4 percentage points.

About Preventable
Preventable (also known as The Community Against Preventable Injuries) is a province-wide, multi-partner organization raising awareness, transforming attitudes, and ultimately changing behaviours. The goal of the organization and its partners is to significantly reduce the number and severity of preventable injuries in BC. Preventable’s strategy is based on two years of extensive research to develop a comprehensive understanding of how and why preventable injuries occur throughout the province. Preventable’s work is made possible through the financial and in-kind support of a variety of organizations that continue to sign on as partners in fighting the epidemic of preventable injuries in BC. Now in its 10th year of activity, the campaign is an evolution in Preventable’s ongoing discussion with British Columbians about the epidemic proportions of preventable injuries.

About BCAA
The most trusted organization in British Columbia by its Members, BCAA serves 1 in 3 BC households with industry-leading products including home, car and travel insurance, roadside assistance, Evo Car Share and full automotive services at BCAA’s Auto Service Centres. BCAA has a long history focused on keeping kids safe on the road and at play through community programs such as its School Safety PatrolCommunity Child Car Seat Program and BCAA Play Here. Please visit bcaa.com.

SOURCE British Columbia Automobile Association (BCAA)

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

8 out of 10 Canadians say they witness distracted driving regularly

Many things can distract drivers behind the wheel – smartphones, other passengers, eating while driving or in-car touch screens– but as the latest Desjardins survey released today indicates, these obvious dangers, especially related to personal smartphone use, are still not clearly being recognized by many Canadian drivers.

Canadians know distracted driving is a big risk factor on the road. While 8 in 10 respondents (79%) say they regularly see other drivers using a smartphone behind the wheel, only 38 percent admit to having driven distracted at least once. A further 21% admitted to using their phone while driving within the past year.

Smartphone-related distracted driving is more pronounced with younger drivers. Eleven percent of drivers aged 16-24 admit to driving while using their smartphone on a regular basis, twice the national average (5%).

When asked what drivers use their smartphone for while driving, one-third point to GPS apps as the primary reason. Here too, however, younger drivers are more likely to reach for the phone, with 45% of drivers aged 16-24 using GPS apps compared to only 22% of the 55-74 age group. Non-smartphone distractions include: the external environment (51%), focusing on passengers or children in the vehicle (35%), changing settings on the vehicle’s entertainment system (35%) and eating or drinking (31%).

Changing Behaviours
Overall, Canadians ranked distracted driving as the second largest risk factor when they take to the road, behind alcohol impaired driving. So, what will change distracted driver behaviour?

The survey found that the biggest deterrent were consequences related to getting caught using a smartphone behind the wheel. Fifty-five percent are most concerned about fines and the potential for higher insurance rates. While 37 percent of drivers stated that getting into a motor-vehicle collision would make them more likely to stop driving distracted.

While drivers fear the financial consequences of distracted driving, a strong majority (68%) say that current laws are not effective enough in deterring distracted driving.

“Canadians know that distracted driving is a risk factor on the road. But we need to send the message that it’s an extremely dangerous behaviour that puts you, your passengers and every road user at risk” said Denis Dubois, President and Chief Operating Officer of Desjardins General Insurance Group. “It’s why we launched this campaign to generate awareness and educate drivers to stop this dangerous activity. It’s also why we work closely with road safety partners like the Traffic Injury Research Foundation and Parachute to push this issue forward. Because one injury or fatality on our roads is one too many.”

“We know that changing driver behaviour is a key component of Vision Zero, the road safety movement with the goal of eliminating serious injuries and deaths from motor vehicle collisions,” said Steve Podborski, President and CEO of Parachute, Canada’s national charity dedicated to injury prevention. “These deaths are not the result of ‘accidents’ but due to preventable and predictable events. Through education, changing how we build our cars and roads, and through enforcement, we can create safer travel for all Canadians.”

“Despite continued declines in fatalities due to road crashes in the past decade, deaths involving distracted driving have increased. Distraction was a factor in 1 in 4 fatalities in 2015”, said Robyn Robertson, President & CEO of the Traffic Injury Research Foundation. “Through our partnership with Desjardins, we are able to track data and trends to raise awareness among Canadians”.

Partners with a Common Goal
Desjardins works closely with national partners, like the Traffic Injury Research Foundation and Parachute, to better inform Canadians about the risks of the road. Desjardins is proud to share two additional resources that will help combat distracted driving:

Distraction-Related Fatal Collisions, 2000-2015
A new fact sheet from the Traffic Injury Research Foundation that examines the magnitude and trends in the role of driver distraction in motor vehicle fatalities in Canada.

Distracted Driving: Changing the Culture Discussion Panel
An engaging and interactive discussion panel from Parachute, Canada’s national charity dedicated to injury prevention. The panel will gather key stakeholders to discuss how Vision Zero can be best applied to distracted driving.

About the Survey
The online survey, conducted in March, 2018, polled 3,020 people across Canada.

About Desjardins Group
Desjardins Group is the leading cooperative financial group in Canada and the fifth largest cooperative financial group in the world, with assets of $290.1 billion. It has been rated one of the Best Employers in Canada by Aon Hewitt. To meet the diverse needs of its members and clients, Desjardins offers a full range of products and services to individuals and businesses through its extensive distribution network, online platforms and subsidiaries across Canada. Counted among the world’s strongest banks according to The Banker magazine, Desjardins has one of the highest capital ratios and credit ratings in the industry.

SOURCE Desjardins Group

#DriveSmartBC: A Different Approach to School Zone Safety

Seven years ago I wrote about a safe trip to school, commenting on my experience that a significant part of the safety problem was caused by teachers and parents themselves. Their driving behaviour as they showed up to work or dropped off their children sometimes left a lot to be desired. Did they not realize that they were creating their own problem?

At that time, the only solution that I had to offer was the walking school bus. This is where parents take turns walking the neighbourhood group of children to school. Everyone benefits from the exercise, the children are safer and traffic congestion at the school is reduced.

We know that there’s a problem, but how do we deal with it? The City of Toronto is trying an Active and Safe Routes to School pilot project as a part of their Vision Zero Road Safety Plan. This will see areas around schools being designated as Community Safety Zones.

These zones will see painted crosswalks, active speed reader signs. increased enforcement and higher penalties.

Of the four, the only one that I know for sure results in a measurable effect is the speed reader sign. It’s always there and working.

Do the police have the resources to maintain an enforcement level necessary to result in a lasting level of compliance? Would we accept automated enforcement in school zones? The current political climate in B.C. seems to indicate that it is possible, but as yet nothing has been implemented.

Vienna Austria, Bolzano Italy and Haddington Scotland have taken a different approach. They have decided to exclude motor vehicle traffic around primary schools. Vienna’s closure is at the start of the school day, with Bolzano and Haddington at the beginning, lunch hour and end of the day.

These are pilot projects for Vienna and Haddington, but Bolzano has had this program in place for 21 years. Bolzano found that traffic jams are reduced and safety has increased, reducing the collision rate by half, resulting in about 45% of students walking to school.

Traffic calming measures lie somewhere in between. Here are some examples from the Netherlands. The use of signs, coloured pavement, marked crosswalks and chicanes are markedly different from what is found here in B.C.

ICBC says that every year, 380 children are injured in crashes while walking or cycling and six are killed throughout the province. In school and playground zones, 86 children are injured. Read their full press release.

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