CARSP President’s Year End Message

December 14, 2020   |   Categories: CARSP News, News

Last Updated on December 14, 2020

Hello CARSP friends,

2020 is coming to an end and I think we can agree that it has been a challenging year.   There is no doubt that this pandemic has been tragic, especially for those who live in long-term care facilities.  This tells us we still have a long way to go in terms of protecting the most vulnerable in our society.  Given that a vaccine is now days away from being approved for use in Canada, and weeks away from receiving our first doses, I am grateful that we can now see the light at the end of this tunnel!

COVID-19 has had a substantial impact on road safety, and the impact has been both negative and positive.  On a negative note, it has encouraged high risk road user behaviour, such as speeding,, which has led to an increase in collisions involving serious injuries and deaths.  On a positive note, it has led to changes in transportation infrastructure which has encouraged citizens to get more physically active.

Impact on Road User Behaviors

A recent article published in the June issue of CARSP’s Safety Network Newsletter states that “speeding/stunt driving, a behaviour common among young males, has been occurring during the pandemic, as have speeding-related collisions.”  It also found that on the other end of the age spectrum “older adults may be driving less which could reduce their driving-related casualty rates during the pandemic.”.  They authors believe that the older adults’ behaviour is related to their knowledge that they are at increased risk of getting and dying from COVID-19.  The article also stated that the pandemic has impacted Canadian’s mental health, leading to higher rates of substance abuse, which they surmise may result in an increase in impaired driving.  You can read the full article here.

Impact on Transportation Infrastructures

Example of bike lane pilot project implemented during the pandemic on Danfort Avenue in Toronto (Nolet A., 2020)

In response to an increase interest for active transportation and to ensure that a safe distance can be maintained between people, multiple municipalities across Canada repurposed road space and introduced slow or quiet streets and bike lanes. While a proportion of these facilities were implemented to address temporary needs, some may become permanent and could have a long-term impact on travel behaviors and significantly improve the safety of vulnerable road users.

Impact on CARSP

Closer to home, the pandemic has also impacted our association.  We had to make the difficult but necessary decision to postpone the CARSP/PRI 2020 Conference to 2021.  In lieu of the conference we gave those who had submitted an abstract to the conference, the opportunity to present this year via webinar.  Eighteen out of one hundred authors took us up on our offer, and this led to the production of a six-part webinar series which took place between June-October.  Thanks to Tony Churchill and his team at the City of Calgary for providing the platform and the staff to produce these webinars, and to Brenda Suggett for coordinating this initiative.

Plans are well underway for a 2021 CARSP/PRI conference, set to take place August 22-25, 2021.  The theme is Equitability: Road Safety for all through Vision Zero and Sustainable Safety.  Our partners are Prevention Routière International (PRI), the Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF) and Desjardins.  The current plans are for a virtual conference with the possibility of a small in-person event (50 persons), to take place in Montreal.  We are expecting between 350-400 participants online.  A call for abstracts will be announced in the new year.

Other Activities

CARSP continues to partner with the Transportation Association of Canada (TAC) and sits on several of its committees/workgroups.  CARSP is also a project funding partner of a TAC Online Road Safety Training Initiative.  The goal of this initiative is to provide training to transportation practitioners that on the fundamentals of road safety.

CARSP is excited to share that through a grant from the Ministry of Transportation of Quebec, and matched funding by CARSP, we will be updating and expanding the “Advanced Vehicle Safety Systems” section of the CARSP website.  The new resource area will examine three categories of Advanced Vehicle Safety Systems, namely: Prevention, Mitigation and During the Crash. At present, the current website area only focuses on “During the Crash”. Also, given the speed with which this technology is growing, this project will also implement a method for regularly updating this section.

Throughout 2020 CARSP shared knowledge and news using the following media: the quarterly Safety Network Newsletter (thanks to our new Editor Chris Poirier and his committee), the Canadian Road Safety News Digest (thanks to Brenda for the continuous work on this!), and our very popular quarterly webinar series (lead by our Marketing and Membership committee). Examples of the topics this year were:  “Lessons Learned from Using Driving Simulators to Improve Driver Behavior: What's Next?”; “The Effects of Cycling Experience and Intersection Risk on Driver Visual Attention Failures toward Vulnerable Road Users” and “Supporting Vision Zero using Video-Based Surrogate Road Safety Techniques”.  Do not forget that you can watch the ones you missed in the Member Area of our website. If any of you would like to present your work to our membership in 2021, let us know!

Where Are we Heading as an Association?

In 2021, your opinion will be solicited through surveys to understand how CARSP can continue to serve you better. The surveys will focus on the following topics:

  1. High-tech security systems for vehicles
  2. Your training needs
  3. The Safety Network Newsletter

Your comments will be very useful in updating our strategic plan which will dictate the direction our association will take in the years to come.

On behalf of the members of the board of directors, I wish you good health, Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year 2021.

Alexandre Nolet

President, CARSP

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