Quick Scan

Canadian Road Safety News Digest – December 1-31, 2018

January 11, 2019   |   Categories: Quick Scan

Last Updated on January 11, 2019

Stiff new penalties for distracted, impaired driving in Ontario begin on Jan. 1

December 29, 2018, Global News (TORONTO, ONTARIO)

After years of calls from advocates to crack down on distracted and impaired driving, stiff penalties passed by the Ontario government will come into force on Tuesday.

“Some people are going to be startled to find that it’s as significant a penalty as a risk to the public,” Brian Patterson, president and CEO of the Ontario Safety League, told Global News on Saturday while praising the province’s legislative changes.

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Entering the New Year with new laws & new tools to combat impaired driving

December 28, 2018, SGI (REGINA, SASKATCHEWAN)

As 2018 fades away like a puff of smoke, SGI and law enforcement remain focused on the issue of impaired driving, which kicks off 2019’s Traffic Safety Spotlight for January.

Another focus on impaired driving? You bet.

The battle against impaired driving is as relevant as ever with the legalization of cannabis in October, and a host of new federal and provincial laws brought in throughout 2018.

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Vision Zero 'not working,' Mayor John Tory says in year-end conversation with CBC Toronto

December 26, 2018, CBC News (TORONTO, ONTARIO)

The city's Vision Zero strategy to end road deaths is simply "not working," according to Mayor John Tory.

He made the comments in a wide-ranging year-end interview with CBC Toronto, amid a conversation about his first term in office and his priorities going forward.

"It's been incredibly frustrating . . . I'd say it's not working in the sense that you can't quibble with the numbers," he explained.

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Garneau launches international Don’t Text and Drive campaign

December 18, 2018, Canadian Cycling Magazine (OTTAWA, ONTARIO)

The date Garneau has chosen to make Don’t Text and Drive Day is Dec. 22. The day is significant for the company because last year, Australian cyclist Jason Lowndes who had raced for the Garneau Factory Racing team, passed away after being struck and killed by a driver who was texting and driving.

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Is the number of drunk drivers in Canada decreasing?

December 18, 2018, Canadian Underwriter (OTTAWA, ONTARIO)

The number of Canadians who died in a crash involving a “drinking driver” has generally decreased in recent years, but rose again in 2015, according to recent research.

In 1995, 1,057 Canadians (excluding British Columbians) were killed in road crashes involving a drinking driver. Overall, that number steadily decreased over the decades to 427 in 2014, but rose to 446 in 2015, the most recent year for which data are available.

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New impaired driving rules will mean fewer roadside deaths, MADD Canada predicts

December 17, 2018, CBC News (TORONTO, ONTARIO)

Changes to impaired driving laws that come into force on Tuesday will reduce the number of people who die in crashes caused by drunk drivers, predicts the head of Mothers Against Drunk Driving Canada.

"It's probably the most significant change in legislation around impaired driving since probably the breathalyzer was brought in 1969," Andrew Murie, CEO of MADD Canada, told CBC Radio's Metro Morning on Monday.

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New Brunswick to increase penalties for drug-impaired driving

December 16, 2018, The Globe and Mail (FREDERICTON, NEW BRUNSWICK)

The New Brunswick government is amending its Motor Vehicle Act next week to slap harsher penalties on those who get behind the wheel while impaired by drugs.

As of Tuesday, police officers who stop a driver showing signs of being impaired by drugs will have the power to seize vehicles and suspend the person’s licence on the spot, according to a government news release.

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What police are getting wrong about pot-impaired driving

December 13, 2018, The Star (TORONTO, ONTARIO)

With the legalization of marijuana, pot holes aren’t the biggest concern on the road — pot-impaired drivers are. Police officers are desperately trying to answer the question: is this driver high on cannabis?

With 1-in-3 Canadians saying they have ridden in a car with a high driver, police chiefs pleaded for a rapid test for THC akin to the breathalyzer for alcohol. Politicians scrambled to approve a saliva screening test. But police chiefs are worried the test is unreliable and some are even refusing to use it.

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Civil liberties group opposes naming impaired driving suspects

December 13, 2018, CBC News (TORONTO, ONTARIO)

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association is taking issue with police forces "naming and shaming" people charged with impaired driving-related offences — a move Ottawa police recently said they're considering.

It comes after York Regional Police began publicly posting the names of people accused of driving drunk or high, joining other police forces such as Durham Regional Police, Halton Regional Police and the South Simcoe Police Service.

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Coming to Toronto council: Cannabis retail stores, road safety and committee appointments

December 12, 2018, Global News (TORONTO, ONTARIO)

Toronto city council will conclude its first meeting of the new four-year term on Thursday by debating motions on a variety of topics, such as opting in or out of allowing retail cannabis stores and appointing council members to boards and committees.

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Humboldt crash site review makes road safety recommendations

December 12, 2018, Globe and Mail (TORONTO, ONTARIO)

A government-ordered review of the intersection where the Humboldt Broncos' bus crashed earlier this year, killing 16 people connected to the junior hockey team, has recommended the province fix several safety issues, including clearing a stand of trees that would have obstructed the views of both bus driver and an approaching tractor-trailer.

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Mandatory impaired driving laws to hit the roads before holidays

December 11, 2018, Global News (TORONTO, ONTARIO)

Given the recent focus on drug-impaired driving with the legalization of recreational cannabis, new impaired driving laws, related to alcohol, have possibly fallen off the radar.

Starting on Dec. 18, stricter drunk driving laws will come into effect.

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'People are afraid to drive on our highways': Ottawa asked to regulate truck-driver training

December 11, 2018, CBC News (SASKATOON, SASKATCHEWAN)

More than 1,200 people are petitioning the federal government to regulate the training of semi-trailer truck drivers after accidents such as the Humboldt Broncos bus disaster that killed 16 people last April.

Saskatchewan and other provincial governments have failed to keep roads safe, according to experts and the families of some accident victims.

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Oral test needed to nab pot-impaired drivers: MADD

December 9, 2018, The Toronto Sun (TORONTO, ONTARIO)

Don’t expect to see a spike in the number of pot-impaired drivers busted by police until oral tests are used to catch stoned motorists, cautions the head of MADD Canada.

Andrew Murie said most police forces have not purchased oral testing equipment for pot.

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Road accident deaths swell to 1.35 million each year: WHO

December 7, 2018, CTV News (TORONTO, ONTARIO)

Road accidents kill someone every 24 seconds, with a total of 1.35 million traffic deaths around the world each year, the World Health Organization said Friday, demanding global action.

The number of fatalities annually has swelled by around 100,000 in just three years, with road accidents now the leading killer of children and young people between the ages of five and 29, the UN health agency said in a new report.

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Grieving father supports police publicly naming, shaming accused drunk drivers

December 6, 2018, The Chronicle Herald (HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA)

If Mike Hudson had his way, he’d advertise the names of accused drunk drivers on billboards.

The Lower Sackville resident says he’s still adapting to his “new normal” since losing his 22-year-old daughter, Danielle, in an alcohol-fuelled single-vehicle crash three years ago on Beaver Bank Road.

While he struggles to overcome his loss, he says a handful of his friends continue to drink and drive. Hudson says he fully supports an Ontario police department’s controversial move earlier this week to publicly name and shame people charged with impaired driving.

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BCAA survey reveals more road safety concerns

December 5, 2018, Collision Repair Magazine (TORONTO, ONTARIO)

A recent survey released from the British Columbia Automobile Association revealed that since the legalization of cannabis, more people are open to getting high during the holiday season, which threatens to increase the number of impaired drivers.

The BCAA released the survey to 814 British Columbian adult cannabis and non-cannabis users…

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More than 200 Manitoba drivers suspended for using their smartphone while driving

December 5, 2018, MPI (WINNIPEG, MANITOBA)

As of the end of November, 237 Manitoba drivers have had their driver’s licence suspended ─ for the minimum three-day period ─ since Manitoba’s new distracted driving law took effect November 1.

The Winnipeg Police Service reports having apprehended 149 drivers, while the RCMP and Brandon Police Service reported that 67 and 21 drivers, respectively, were charged for using hand-operated electronic devices while driving.

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Stricter roadside alcohol screening law will ‘probably survive’ challenges: law professor

December 5, 2018, The Chronicle Herald (HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA)

A Dalhousie University law professor expects a controversial new law intended to curb drunk driving will likely survive what he predicts will be a slew of charter challenges.

Mandatory alcohol screening that takes effect Dec. 18 will allow police to demand a breath sample from any driver they lawfully stop, a lower bar than the current threshold, which requires reasonable suspicion the person has been drinking.

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Ottawa warns that a crackdown on impaired drivers is fast approaching

December 4, 2018, CBC News (OTTAWA, ONTARIO)

Liberal ministers are warning that the risk of being nabbed for impaired driving will increase "exponentially" this holiday season — even as they concede their new impaired driving law is likely to face a court challenge.

Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould and Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction Minister Bill Blair held a news conference Tuesday to remind Canadians that in two weeks, they will be subject to mandatory alcohol screening if they're stopped by police.

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Saskatchewan introducing mandatory minimum training requirements for commercial semi drivers

December 3, 2018, SGI (REGINA, SASKATCHEWAN)

Starting March 15, 2019, drivers seeking a Class 1 commercial licence in Saskatchewan to drive semi trucks will be required to undergo a minimum 121.5 hours of training.

The change was announced today by the Government of Saskatchewan to make Saskatchewan roads safer for commercial semi truck drivers and everyone who shares the road with them.

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Nova Scotia RCMP to adopt new screening device for drug-impaired driving

December 3, 2018, Global News (HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA)

RCMP officers across the country have a new device to help them catch drug-impaired drivers, and Nova Scotia’s detachment took it for a spin on Monday.

The Dräger DrugTest 5000 is the first machine approved by the federal government for roadside drug testing. It’s a drug screening system that uses saliva to test for seven types of drugs, including cannabis and cocaine

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Opening Night at Operation Red Nose Headquarters

December 3, 2018, SAAQ (MONTREAL, QUEBEC)

Operation Red Nose kicked off its 35th campaign on Friday, November 30, 2018.

The Minister of Transport, Mr. François Bonnardel, took part in the official opening night of Operation Red Nose and participated in the first drive home of the 35th campaign in the city of Québec…

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Alberta sees nearly 3,000 impaired driving charges for 2018

December 2, 2019, The Sudbury Star (SUDBURY, ONTARIO)

Impaired driving numbers remain “far too high,” according to Alberta RCMP.

Alberta RCMP laid 2,788 charges for impaired operation by alcohol and 124 charges for impaired operation by a drug from Jan. 1 to Oct. 31 this year.

“Whether caused by alcohol or any other drug, impaired driving remains a crime. The recent legalization of recreational cannabis does not change the fact that we all have a role to play in #TrafficSafety,” said Supt. Gary Graham, Alberta RCMP Traffic Services, in a statement.

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Canadian Events & Conferences in 2019

Winter Cycling Congress

Calgary, Alberta

February 6-8, 2019

Learn more…


5th Ontario Road Safety Forum

University of Toronto

Toronto, Ontario

March 27, 2019

Learn more…


Road Safety & Simulation Conference

Iowa City, Iowa

October 14-17, 2019

Learn more…