Saving Lives on Canadian Roads

National Road Safety Week
May 15 - 21, 2007

An important safety initiative by police enforcement agencies across the country will take place during National Road Safety Week. Canada Road Safety Week a police initiative supporting the national effort aims to make Canada’s roads the safest in the world.

This special week is a police initiative designed to remind people that an essential part of the enforcement job is to save lives and reduce injuries on our roadways. Educating the public in safe driving practices is a priority. The focus will be on behaviours that put drivers, passengers and other road users most at risk: sober and alert driving, seat belt use, and intersection related incidents involving drivers, riders and pedestrians. All enforcement agencies across the country have been invited to participate.

“The deaths, pain and personal trauma that result from carelessness behind the wheel can be prevented,” says Jack Smith, President of the Canada Safety Council. “Police agencies across the country are collaborating on this project because they have seen more than enough of that, and because they know that the involvement of the driving public is essential to achieve safer streets and highways.”

This week has been strategically chosen, as it is the first “summer” long weekend. More people are traveling and traffic collisions are more frequent.

In Canada, there have been 2,923 deaths and 17,529 serious injuries in 2005 related to vehicle collisions. These are just numbers but they represent moms, dads, sisters, brothers, loved ones, co-workers, neighbours. It is unacceptable to the Canada Safety Council.

Let’s all work to improve public safety on our roadways.

30

For further information please contact:

Raynald Marchand, General Manager, programs, 613-739-1535 ext: 226

FACT SHEET: THE IMPORTANCE OF SEAT BELT AND CHILD CAR SEAT USE

Did you know?

At 50 km/h, an unrestrained vehicle occupant weighing 80 kg (176 lbs.) will strike whatever it hits first with a force of 2,785 kg (6,215 lbs.). Seat belts distribute that force evenly to the stronger parts of your body.

Lap/shoulder belts reduce the risk of fatal injury to front seat occupants by 45 percent and the risk of moderate to critical injury by 50 percent. Those numbers jump to 60 percent and 65 percent, respectively, for people riding in light trucks.

75 percent of people ejected from their vehicles die.

More than 800 motor vehicle occupants who died in crashes during 2004 were unrestrained at the time of collision occurrence The inside of a vehicle has what’s called the engineered life space. It’s specially designed to handle collisions and protect vehicle occupants. The seat belt will keep you inside that engineered life space.

Seat belts offer the best protection against ejection. Airbags are a supplement, not a substitute.

Most parents know that a child who weighs less than 18 kg (40 lbs.) must be properly secured in a child safety seat. In addition:

  • A child who weighs less than 9 kg (20 lbs.) must be in a rear-facing child safety seat.
  • A child weighing between 9 kg and 18 kg must be in a forward-facing child safety seat.

Seat belts and child safety seats are the most cost effective means we have of reducing injury and death from motor vehicle collisions. All provinces and territories have seat belt and child restraint laws. Police will be enforcing these laws.

Safety experts strongly recommend that you install a booster seat to replace a child safety seat when your child turns 6 or weighs more than 18 kg.

Children under the age of 12 should be in the back seat. It’s always the safest place for them, especially if your vehicle is equipped with a supplemental restraint system (SRS), otherwise known as airbags.

FACT SHEET: DRINKING AND DRIVING

Did you know?

Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF) estimates that in 2003 (the most recent year for which official statistics are available), 1,143 people died in alcohol-related crashes in Canada.

Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) refers to the weight of alcohol (expressed in milligrams) in a standard volume of blood (usually 100 millilitres). For example, it is an offence under the Criminal Code of Canada to operate a motor vehicle with a BAC that exceeds 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood. Because the amount of alcohol in the breath is directly proportional to the amount of alcohol in the blood, BAC is readily (and most often) measured by means of a breath test – i.e., using a “breathalyzer”.

The number of fatally injured drinking drivers has declined by 41 percent since 1987. The level achieved in 1999 (33 percent of fatally injured drivers with positive BAC) was the lowest point reached in the past three decades. During 2003, (the most recent year for which official statistics are available), 38 percent of fatally injured drivers had positive BAC.

All provinces, except Quebec, have legislation that allows a police officer to suspend a driver’s licence immediately for a short period of time (12 or 24 hours), if the driver has a BAC of 50 mg percent or greater (40 mg percent in Saskatchewan).

Contrary to popular opinion most alcohol-related crashes do not occur during the winter months (December, January, and February). The greatest numbers of alcohol-related crashes occur during the summer months (June, July, and August).

A wide range of drugs (illicit as well as prescription and even some sold over-the-counter) have impairing effects on driving-related skills. It is also known that many of these drugs are found in drivers involved in serious road crashes – as many as 25 percent of fatally injured drivers have been found to be positive for some psychoactive substance.

You can be charged with impaired driving on your own property. The Criminal Code of Canada applies not only to public roads and highways but to private property as well.

You can be charged with impaired driving under the Criminal Code of Canada even your BAC is below the legal limit, or if you have not been drinking at all. If the police officer determines that your ability to operate the vehicle is impaired, you can be charged with impaired driving.

Source of statistics – Traffic Injury Research Foundation