#eyesfwdbc – Distracted Driving Month in B.C.

#eyesfwdbc – Distracted Driving Month in B.C.

Hey you! Yeah, YOU, put the phone down and pay attention to where you’re driving! In 2015 police wrote over 44,000 traffic tickets for distracted driving violations in B.C. ICBC tells us that about 30% of crashes in B.C. involve driving while distracted. Recent changes to the distracted driving legislation saw fines change from $196 to $348 + $175 from 4 penalty points yet look around you in traffic and see how many drivers you can find with an electronic device in hand.

The last time that ICBC commissioned a poll on distracted driving almost everyone agreed that texting while driving was dangerous, but 40% of drivers with cell phones had used it while driving in the preceding six months.

There is no good time to drive while using an electronic device, but this month could be even more risky for those who can’t leave the phone alone. A press release from ICBC this week advises that:

ICBC, police and volunteers have worked together to plan more enforcement deployments across the province with over 70 police enforcement events and over 50 Cell Watch deployments with volunteers roadside this month. The aim is to give drivers the clear message that if they drive while distracted, they’re even more likely to be caught.

So, if we know that this is not a good idea, why do some of us do it? Perhaps we could ask the same question of impaired drivers, speeders or those who don’t stop at stop signs. I suspect that it’s a combination of putting one’s perceived needs ahead of everyone else, our rationalization that we’re good drivers so we can do this safely or we don’t think that there is much chance of being caught.

There is even talk of cell phone use being an addiction that creates a compulsion to use it regardless of the circumstances that we find ourselves in at the time.

We should be very concerned that the age group most likely to ignore the rules surrounding electronics and distraction are the younger drivers. They neither have the skills nor the experience of an accomplished driver yet they willingly take on the risk of divided attention while driving.

The Traffic Injury Research Foundation has published a National Action Plan on Distracted Driving for Canada. While education, enforcement and legislation are in place, co-ordination among stakeholders is missing. Hopefully the formation of the Canadian Coalition on Distracted Driving will facilitate co-ordination going forward.

Ultimately, the solution to the problem comes down to the individual, that is me and you. Together we can do things like shutting off our phone when we get into the vehicle, install an app like OneTap that silences notifications while driving, refusing to talk or text with friends and familiy while they drive, pull over and park to text or make a call. Got the message?

Reference Links:

Government, ICBC and police unite for significant enforcement crackdown on distracted driving

Government, ICBC and police unite for significant enforcement crackdown on distracted driving

In a significant and concerted enforcement effort on distracted driving, ICBC, the B.C. government and police across the province are joining forces this month to raise awareness of the dangers and consequences of distracted driving.

Despite tougher penalties and increased education, distracted driving still contributes to more than one quarter of all car crash fatalities in B.C., with an average of 78 people killed every year.

According to a recent Ipsos Reid survey conducted for ICBC, almost all drivers believe distracted driving has led to an increase in crashes; however, nearly 40 per cent admit to still using their device at least some of the time while driving.

In response, ICBC, police and volunteers have worked together to plan more enforcement deployments across the province with over 70 police enforcement events and over 50 Cell Watch deployments with volunteers roadside this month. The aim is to give drivers the clear message that if they drive while distracted, they’re even more likely to be caught.

Free ‘not while driving’ decals are available at ICBC driver licensing offices and participating Autoplan broker offices for drivers to support the campaign and encourage other road users to leave their phones alone.

The campaign features radio and digital advertising, as well as social media. You can view more tips and statistics in an infographic at icbc.com.

Quotes:

Mike Morris, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General
“We anticipate that this will be a significant enforcement effort to crack down on distracted driving since we introduced tough new penalties in 2016,” said Mike Morris, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General. “We believe these new penalties are helping to deliver the message to drivers to put away their electronic devices and focus on the road. Police enforcement efforts like this will help ensure those drivers who persist in breaking the law and use their devices behind the wheel will get caught.”

Todd Stone, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure
“Road safety is our top priority,” said Todd Stone, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. “Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of car fatalities in B.C. It’s crucial that drivers make it their top priority to stop driving distracted.”

Chief Constable Neil Dubord, Chair of the B.C. Association of Chiefs of Police Traffic Safety Committee
“Taking an integrated and focused approach, police across B.C. will be conducting concentrated enforcement on those who continue to use their phones while driving,” said Chief Constable Neil Dubord, Chair of the B.C. Association of Chiefs of Police Traffic Safety Committee. “Putting away our cellphones needs to be as automatic as buckling up. It will require a conscious decision to change distracted driving behavior and it starts with each of us individually. Far too many drivers are putting themselves and others at risk. When you’re driving, focus on the road and leave your phone alone.”

Lindsay Matthews, ICBC’s Director responsible for road safety
“You’re five times more likely to crash if you’re using your hand-held phone,” said Lindsay Matthews, ICBC’s director responsible for road safety. “More crashes and distracted driving are putting pressure on insurance rates. That’s why we’re committed to finding ways to reduce the number of crashes on our roads but we need everyone’s help—we all need to commit to driving without distractions.”

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.

*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.

Media contact

Lindsay Olsen
604-982-4759

Newfoundland and Labrador cracking down on impaired driving

Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) congratulates the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador for announcing legislation to make changes to the Highway Traffic Act. The proposed changes would crack down on impaired driving and introduce stiffer penalties for this serious crime.

“IBC fully supports the government’s proposed changes and we welcome this fantastic announcement,” said Amanda Dean, Vice President, Atlantic, IBC. “Impaired driving takes far too many lives and it’s something that can be easily avoided. Property and casualty insurers are committed to working with governments across Canada to reduce impaired driving and to keep our roads safe for everyone. This is an important step and the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador is to be commended for this legislation.”

According to the government, the proposed amendments would expand the province’s vehicle impoundment program. Specifically, it would make it mandatory for a police officer to order the vehicle of an impaired driver to be impounded immediately. The proposed changes would also include the introduction of a mandatory ignition interlock program as a condition for a convicted driver’s licence reinstatement. Further, drivers who are younger than 22 years of age will be required to maintain a blood alcohol content of zero per cent. This would give young drivers the opportunity to form good driving habits that separate alcohol consumption from driving.

“IBC is encouraging all MHAs to support these important changes,” added Dean. “Our industry will keep working with the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador to help reduce this senseless, dangerous, and completely avoidable crime.”

About Insurance Bureau of Canada
Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is the national industry association representing Canada’s private home, auto and business insurers. Its member companies make up 90% of the property and casualty (P&C) insurance market in Canada. For more than 50 years, IBC has worked with governments across the country to help make affordable home, auto and business insurance available for all Canadians. IBC supports the vision of consumers and governments trusting, valuing and supporting the private P&C insurance industry. It champions key issues and helps educate consumers on how best to protect their homes, cars, businesses and properties.

P&C insurance touches the lives of nearly every Canadian and plays a critical role in keeping businesses safe and the Canadian economy strong. It employs more than 120,000 Canadians, pays $9 billion in taxes and has a total premium base of $49 billion.

For media releases and more information, visit IBC’s Media Centre at www.ibc.ca. Follow IBC on Twitter @InsuranceBureau and @IBC_Atlantic or like us on Facebook. If you have a question about home, auto or business insurance, contact IBC’s Consumer Information Centre at 1‑844‑2ask-IBC.

If you require more information, IBC spokespeople are available to discuss the details in this media release.

SOURCE Insurance Bureau of Canada

Thousands of customers set to #TakeTheWheel in national campaign, running March 1 – 31

Read more

Distracted driving returns as the traffic safety spotlight for the month of March.

Read more

B.C. kids at risk from second-hand child car seats and installation mistakes

A new BCAA survey reveals many parents take risks when transporting their kids such as using a second-hand child car seat and not checking regularly for proper installation.

The survey, by Insights West for BCAA, asks parents for their views and behaviours around driving with their kids. BCAA’s Community Impact Senior Manager, Shawn Pettipas, says everyday mistakes could put children at risk.

The survey confirms most parents install their child car seats themselves but many don’t do regular checks and some have doubts:

  • Half (51%) don’t check regularly that their child’s seat is properly installed.
  • 21% are not certain that their child is properly installed in the child car seat.
  • 17% aren’t sure if the seat is correct for their child’s age and weight.
  • 66% install seats themselves.
  • 25% have their car seat checked by a certified expert.

While the survey also indicates many parents and caregivers feel certain they’re using the correct car seat correctly, Pettipas and his team of child car seat specialists see something different first-hand.

“We were surprised with the survey results because at every one of our car seat clinics, we find so many seats improperly installed, kids in the wrong type of seat, second-hand seats, and worried parents baffled after realizing how much they don’t know,” says Pettipas who manages child car seat programs for BCAA. The bottom line is that many parents simply don’t know what they don’t know and may be making mistakes.”

The survey also revealed that second-hand child car seats are an area of much uncertainty for parents:

  • Half (50%) believe it’s safe to use a second-hand seat as long as it’s in “good condition.”
  • Almost one in five (18%) use a second-hand seat (from friends, family or bought from sites like Craigslist)
  • 29% of parents who use a second-hand seat admit to not knowing the history of the seat.

“Just because it looks good doesn’t mean it’s safe. Not knowing the full history of a second-hand car seat means parents can’t be absolutely certain of the seat’s condition and this can put their kid at risk,” Pettipas says. “From using the wrong type of car seat to improper installation, we understand mistakes can happen and BCAA wants to help by raising awareness about common mistakes and offering support to help parents do even more to protect their children.”

BCAA’s child car seat website, bcaa.com/carseats offers a wealth of car seat information including step-by-step installation instructions with images and printable checklists to help parents and caregivers use child car seats and booster seats correctly.

BCAA’s key tips for child car seat safety include:

1.     Use correct child car seat for child’s age and size. Take note of weight and height limits for car seats.

2.     Ensure proper installation. Read vehicle and child car seat manuals before using child car seat. Proper installation includes the child car seat being placed on an appropriate vehicle seat, positioned correctly and properly secured.

3.     Find a local car seat clinic. Parents and caregivers can attend workshops like ones offered by BCAA to learn more and receive hands-on installation education. If a car seat clinic is unavailable in your area or you have questions, contact BCAA’s Child Passenger Safety information line at 1-877-247-5551.

4.     Ensure your child is properly placed and secured in the car seat.

  • Adjust harness straps to the correct height: Rear-facing (below child’s shoulders) or forward-facing (above the shoulders)
  • Both harness strap latches should be fastened (both have been clicked into the buckle).
  • Harness straps are snug (only room for one finger or less between harness and child’s collar bone).
  • Chest clip positioned at the child’s armpit level.

5.     Regularly check car seat position and condition.

  • Wiggle test: Hold car seat at the belt path and give it a side-to-side wiggle. Car seat should not move sideways more than 2.5 cm (1 inch).
  • Look for signs of wear and tear such as frayed harnesses, torn padding, cracks in the shell. Clean out every day crumbs and dirt from around the straps and buckle.

6.     If a second-hand car seat must be used, be absolutely certain of its full history. Ensure the seat hasn’t been involved in any collision or dropped. Check for recalls and ensure it is within its expiry date.

BCAA is dedicated to the safe transportation of children. For the past four years BCAA, has donated more than 7,000 new child car seats to families in need across B.C. through the Community Child Car Seat Program, in partnership with United Way of the Lower Mainland. This June, BCAA will provide another thousand seats, bringing the total donation to 8,000 car seats.

Applications for the Community Child Car Seat Program are now being accepted from February 16 until March 6, 2017. Community programs offered by registered non-profit agencies throughout B.C. are eligible to apply and encouraged to visit bcaa.com/carseatprogram for program details and to apply online.

About the Survey
Results of the survey are based on an online study conducted from January 30 to February 2, 2017, among a representative sample of 401 British Columbian adults who drive a car and have a child car seat. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region. The margin of error – which measures sample variability is +/-4.9 percentage points.

About BCAA
The most trusted organization in British Columbia by its Members, BCAA serves 1 in 3 B.C. households with industry-leading products including home, auto and travel insurance, roadside assistance, Evo Car Share and full auto service at BCAA’s Auto Service Centres. BCAA has a long history focused on keeping kids safe on the road and at play through safety programs such as its School Safety Patrol, Community Child Car Seat Program and most recently, BCAA Play Here which, in its first year, provided $260,000 to revitalize kids’ play spaces in B.C. Please visit bcaa.com.

SOURCE British Columbia Automobile Association

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