Quick Scan

Canadian Road Safety News Digest – December 1 – 31, 2015

January 14, 2016   |   Categories: Quick Scan

Last Updated on January 14, 2016

A monthly compilation of national, provincial and local news stories on road safety

Proposed changes put New Brunswick among provincial leaders in fight against impaired driving
December 17, 2015, MADD Canada (OAKVILLE, ONTARIO)
New impaired driving countermeasures, introduced by New Brunswick Public Safety Minister Stephen Horsman today, will substantially reduce impaired driving in the province, says MADD Canada.

“These changes represent a significant commitment to address the impaired driving problem in New Brunswick, and they send a strong message that this crime will not be tolerated,” said MADD Canada Chief Executive Officer Andrew Murie. “We thank the Government of New Brunswick and Minister Horsman for their leadership and action on this issue.”

New report will lead to creation of national plan to combat distracted driving
December 16, 2015, Canada Newswire (GUELPH, ONTARI0)
Today, the Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF) and The Co-operators released Distracted Driving in Canada: Making Progress, Taking Action, a report that provides a snapshot of activities underway in Canada to reduce distracted driving. Based on an environmental scan TIRF completed in partnership with Drop It and Drive (D.I.A.D.) earlier this year, it identifies the need for a national action plan to combat the problem and recommends the creation of a National Working Group on Distracted Driving that can work with a diverse set of stakeholders to develop such a strategy. In the months ahead, TIRF will take the lead on creating the working group, with the ongoing support of The Co-operators.

MADD pans Manitoba Liberals' liquor privatization plans
December 12, 2015, CBC News (WINNIPEG, MANITOBA)
The Manitoba Liberals' proposal to privatize liquor sales in the province isn't just bad policy that could lead to more impaired drivers on the road, it's also political pandering meant to help the group stand out ahead of the 2016 election, the CEO of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) says.

On Thursday, Liberal Leader Rana Bokhari promised to make that move if the party wins next April's election.

Driving deaths while “high” on rise in United States
December 11, 2015, Digital Journal (SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA)
New data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, (NHTSA) shows that 15% of drivers in fatal crashes now have marijuana in their system, while 40% of marijuana drivers also were DUI. Washington State now has 27% of fatal drivers testing positive for marijuana. Drivers killed that tested positive for marijuana were on the average 4 years younger than those that tested positive with blood alcohol levels of 0.8+.

Toyota tops in auto safety test, while U.S. makers lag
December 10, 2015, CBC News – Business (ARLINGTON, VA)
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has picked 48 vehicles that meet its criteria as top of the line for safety, but only two are by U.S. automakers.

The U.S. insurance group gives its Top Safety Pick+ award to vehicles that have a good rating in five crash-worthiness tests and a high rating for front crash protection.
See the top safety picks for 2015

Sutcliffe: On road safety, avoid the rush to an expensive solution
December 10, 2015, Ottawa Citizen (OTTAWA, ONTARIO)
The intersection of the Transitway and the train tracks in Barrhaven is particularly busy. And yet, as the Transportation Safety Board pointed out, it’s still possible for a bus driver to cross it dozens of times and only rarely encounter a train.

So much so, the TSB suggests, that such a driver could come to expect the path to be clear when approaching the crossing, even if it wasn’t.

In its exhaustive report into the bus-train crash of September 2013, the TSB wrote: “When a driver becomes familiar with a particular level crossing or with a particular type of level crossing, and where the driver has never, or seldom, encountered an approaching train at the level crossing, the driver will tend to have a ‘no trains’ expectation at the crossing.”

Designated driver companies in Durham say new municipal rules will kill industry
December 9, 2015, Global News (TORONTO, ONTARIO)
As the owner of a designated driver service, DD4U, Sharon Carswell is proud of what she does, calling it a “win win” while driving through Oshawa.

But now she is worried new bylaws being implemented by the City of Oshawa will put the brakes on the industry.

If you’ve had a little too much to drink, at a holiday party for example, a contracted driver will pick you up and drive you home in your own car, with a chase car that follows and goes on to the next call.

When safety campaigns don’t work, reality strikes!
December 9, 2015, Radio Canada International (QUEBEC CITY, QUEBEC)
It started with a public safety awareness campaign, and ended with a bang…..and with a tweet from the Quebec provincially-run auto licensing and insuring agency, the Societe d”Assurance Automobile Quebec. (SAAQ)

It read “Cette conductrice qui a embouti l’arrière de l’autobus était en train de texter. Ça ne s’invente pas :-)” Loosely translated as “The women was texting when she hit the bus….You can’t make this stuff up”

The SAAQ last month launched a French-language public safety campaign against texting and driving.

Pedestrians hospitalized hours after Alberta announces review of Traffic Safety Act
December 9, 2015, CTV News (CALGARY, ALBERTA)
Two pedestrians suffered serious injuries on Calgary streets on the same day the Alberta government revealed it's reviewing the Traffic Safety Act with an eye to make the province safer for walking.

"It's currently underway and it addresses pedestrian safety," Infrastructure Minister Brian Mason said of the review, adding new legislation may include stiffer penalties.

"We're looking at fines and demerit points for a variety of traffic violations, including those which involve pedestrians."

Demerits coming for Alberta distracted drivers
December 9, 2015, CBC News (EDMONTON, ALBERTA)
The Alberta government is planning to start hitting distracted drivers with demerit points starting Jan. 1.

Transportation Minister Brian Mason confirmed this is part of a plan that he will be announcing Thursday but he declined to give more details.

"Speed or Greed? Automated Traffic Enforcement - Safety? or Revenue?"
December 8, 2015, Canada Newswire (CALGARY, ALBERTA)
Frontier Centre for Public Policy has released Hiroko Shimizu and Pierre Desrochers' study of the effects of automated traffic enforcement (ATE) in "Speed or Greed: Does Automated Traffic Enforcement Improve Safety or Generate Revenue?"

Shimizu and Desrochers state that the decline of road fatalities by 58% is largely due to better engineered vehicles, seat belts and other safety measures. Although there is little credible evidence, some ATE supporters assert that lower speed limits, increased fines and rigorous enforcement will improve public safety. Shimizu and Desrochers claim evidence shows that strategies including better signage, longer yellow light times and speed limits that reflect actual driving practices are more effective at reducing traffic violations and collisions.

5-star new car safety rating to include collision prevention technologies for first time
December 8, 2015, Canadian Business (WASHINGTON, D.C.)
The government on Tuesday announced plans to update its safety rating system for new cars and trucks to include whether the vehicle has technology to avoid crashes, in addition to how well it protects occupants in accidents.

The 5-star rating system now uses crash tests to assess how well people inside are shielded from injury or death in front, side and rollover crashes.

While that will remain a big factor in the ratings, they also will take into account whether the vehicle has nine technologies that can help prevent or lessen the severity of crashes. Those technologies include sensors that can detect an imminent frontal collision and apply the brakes, or warn drivers about vehicles in their blind spots or that they’re drifting into another lane.

Pedestrians seeing red after Nova Scotia boosts jaywalking fine to nearly $700
December 7, 2015, Globe and Mail (HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA)
Increasing the fine for jaywalking in Nova Scotia to nearly $700 is being roundly criticized by active transportation advocates and pedestrians alike.

The legislature passed a bill last week that boosts the fine from $410 to $697.50 – more than the penalty for using a cellphone behind the wheel and well above jaywalking fines in other cities and provinces The penalty for jaywalking ranges from a maximum of $30 in Quebec and $50 in Ontario to $250 in Edmonton….

…Provincial Transportation Minister Geoff MacLellan said raising the pedestrian fine to a level equivalent with the highest fine for drivers sends the message that road safety is a shared responsibility.

Toronto ‘protected’ bike lanes routinely invaded, but proposed ticket-by-mail system might help
December 7, 2015, TheStar.com (TORONTO, ONTARIO)
A line of 15 Beck taxis idling inside the celebrated Richmond St. protected bike lane on Friday night was shocking — even to a Beck boss — but cyclists are forced into downtown traffic by obstacles like that all the time.

It’s the kind of frustration cycling activist Jared Kolb hopes will be rarer if the city starts sending offending drivers tickets in the mail. Potentially, a new power granted by the province to mail them rather than have to affix them to the car would speed things up and get more tickets written.

“We're building infrastructure, but we direly need the enforcement to go along with it,” Kolb told the Star.

Alberta RCMP begins annual holiday Checkstop campaign
December 4, 2015, CTV News (CALGARY, ALBERTA)
Starting December 4, RCMP all over the province will be out in force to keep impaired drivers off the roads and highways as part of the Canada-wide CheckStop initiative.

Friday is National Impaired Driving Enforcement Day, and it's also the first day of the Christmas season where RCMP officers will take to the road in the province's 112 local detachment areas and area highways.

MADD Canada predicts new technology will virtually end drunk driving
December 4, 2015, News1130.com (VANCOUVER, B.C.)
We are heading into the first weekend of December, which means you will be heading through the first police road blocks of the holiday season tonight.

But the annual CounterAttack blitz could soon be a thing of the past according to the head of MADD Canada, who recently tested new technology meant to be installed in every vehicle that rolls off the production line.

“The car of the future will have DADSS (Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety) built right into it,” says Andrew Murie, president of Mothers Against Drunk Driving Canada.

B.C. to introduce variable speed limit signs on provincial highways
December 4, 2015, Driving.ca (VANCOUVER, B.C.)
The B.C. government has introduced a new pilot project to help reduce highway collisions in bad weather.

Road crews in the province have begun installing a new type of speed limit sign – one that actually adjusts for road conditions, weather, visibility and traffic – in a bid to reduce weather-related collisions.

Quebec gets failing grade in drunk driving report card
December 4, 2015, CTV News (MONTREAL, QUEBEC)
Quebec has received a failing grade in an annual checkup on drinking and driving in Canada.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) released their provincial impaired driving report Friday and Quebec and New Brunswick received the lowest scores in the country, only 11 points out of 25.

MADD Canada says recent decreases in death and injury from impaired driving have a lot to do with initiatives coming from provincial governments.

New impaired driving laws in Manitoba should focus on drug use: MADD
December 4, 2015, CBC News (WINNIPEG, MANITOBA)
It’s been a little over five years since Melody Bodnarchuk’s 22-year-old nephew was killed by a drunk driver. Nov. 10, 2010 will replay in her memory for life, she said.

…The Manitoba government announced new impaired driving rules on Monday. The legislation extends licence suspensions and puts mandatory interlock systems that require a breath sample to start a vehicle into all convicted impaired drivers’ cars.

The focus on drinking should be shifted to drug use, some say.

Attention: cops plan Nunavut-wide drunk driver blitz Dec. 4: RCMP to do check-stops in every Nunavut community
December 3, 2015, NunatsiaqOnline.ca (IQALUIT, NUNAVIT)
If you’re planning to take a drink and get behind the wheel of a vehicle tomorrow, don’t do it.

The Nunavut RCMP will do a territory-wide blitz tomorrow, Dec. 4, to send a message to would-be impaired drivers.

Is it illegal to text in a Tim Hortons drive-thru?
December 3, 2015, Globe and Mail (TORONTO, ONTARIO)
An Alberta man was just fined $300 for texting in a Tim Hortons drive-thru. Could it happen here in Ontario? — Frank

“At Timmies. Do u want a double double?”

Sending that text in a drive-thru won’t get you a fine with your order in Ontario, police say.

Province advises tougher laws aimed at impaired, distracted drivers take effect today
December 1, 2015, Government of Manitoba (WINNIPEG, MANITOBA)
Manitobans who drive while impaired by drugs or alcohol or who commit other serious driving-related offences now face much harsher penalties, Attorney General Gord Mackintosh announced today as the Safer Roads Act took effect.

“Driving is a privilege. We are sending a strong message to high-risk drivers that if they choose to disregard the safety of residents and motorists, they will lose that privilege and pay the price,” said Minister Mackintosh. “People who engage in illegal driving behaviours, those who endanger the lives of innocent, law-abiding citizens, will face the consequences of their actions.”

Canadian Events & Conferences in 2016
Working for Road Safety
CARSP Conference 2016
Call for Abstracts - Deadline November 9th
Westin Nova Scotian
Halifax, Nova Scotia
June 5-8, 2016
Learn more...

CCMTA Annual Meeting
Halifax, Nova Scotia
June 19-22, 2016
Learn more…

Prepared by CARSP. If you are aware of road safety news items or upcoming conferences that should be included in this Safety News Digest, please forward them to info@carsp.ca