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

September long weekend road trip? Make it a safe one

August 31, 2017

Long weekends are terrific – no one can dispute this – but they do mean increased traffic on the highways and a greater risk of getting in a collision. SGI is reminding motorists to do their part to make sure everyone gets to their destination safely.

“Whether you’re driving to see your family, heading to the lake, or coming into Regina for the big game, let’s make this Labour Day long weekend a safe one for everybody travelling Saskatchewan’s roads,” said Earl Cameron, Executive Vice-President of the Saskatchewan Auto Fund. “You can do that by driving sober, avoiding distractions, buckling up and obeying posted speed limits.”

Over the 2016 Labour Day long weekend, there were 265 collisions, resulting in four deaths and 55 injuries, according to preliminary data. Alcohol or drug impairment was a factor in two of those deaths and six injuries.

SGI offers the following tips for drivers hitting the road this Labour Day weekend:

  • Drive sober – Your risk of a long weekend collision nearly doubles when alcohol is involved. Saskatchewan’s tough new laws mean penalties for impaired driving start at .04 blood alcohol content (BAC), with three-day vehicle impoundments and licence suspensions. There is zero tolerance for drugs and alcohol for new drivers and anyone 21 years of age and under. If your long weekend plans involve a few drinks, plan a safe ride. If your friend has been drinking, be a good Wingman and don’t let them get behind the wheel.
  • Leave the phone alone – You’re controlling thousands of pounds of steel and glass travelling at high speeds, so that deserves your full attention. Distracted driving is the second-leading cause of fatal collisions in Saskatchewan. If you get caught driving with your phone in hand, it’s a $280 fine and four demerit points. Experienced drivers can only use their phone if it’s mounted on the dash or visor, using the one-touch or voice-activated function. Drivers in the Graduated Driver’s Licensing program are prohibited from using the phone entirely.
  • Buckle up – Seatbelts have been the law in Saskatchewan for 40 years, yet in 27 per cent of fatalities last year, someone wasn’t restrained properly. Seatbelts are mandatory for everyone and child safety seats are required for all children under seven years old.
  • Don’t speed – Hey, it’s the LONG weekend, so you’ve got plenty of time to get there. Obey posted speed limits, and watch out for construction zones and school zones where speeding tickets are even more expensive. Also, with harvest underway, slow down and be patient around any farm equipment that may be travelling along our highways and rural roads.
• • •

Contact

Customer inquiries
Customer Contact Centre
775-6900 in Regina
1-800-667-9868
sgiinquiries@sgi.sk.ca

 

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

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