Quick Scan

Canadian Road Safety News Digest – May 1-31, 2016

June 23, 2016   |   Categories: Quick Scan

Last Updated on June 23, 2016

Public Transportation Road Safety Week


For 10 years now, the SAAQ and the Association du transport urbain du Québec have been spearheading Public Transportation Road Safety Week.

This annual event aims to remind pedestrians and cyclists of the kind of safe behaviour they should adopt when near city buses. It also provides an opportunity to remind bus drivers of the importance of adopting good road behaviour.

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Liberals' pot plan looks for way to detect and deter drug-impaired driving

May 23, 2016, CBC News (OTTAWA, ONTARIO)

The man tasked with coming up with Canada's marijuana law has a proposal for dealing with one of the biggest issues facing legalization: prevention of driving under the influence of pot.

While police can conduct field sobriety tests if they suspect a driver is impaired by any substance, there is no established breathalyzer equivalent in roadside policing to easily detect and measure impairment when it comes to driving while high.

Liberal MP Bill Blair says oral fluids testing could be the roadside measure used by Canadian authorities to detect marijuana in a person's system.

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Pot breathalyzer quest ramps up as legalization looms

May 22, 2016, CBC News (TORONTO, ONTARIO)

You're standing on the side of the road, with traffic whizzing past.

The police officer who pulled you over suspects you may have smoked the reefer before departing for McDonald's.

But she's in a bit of a quagmire, because, really, there's no reliable way to know for sure. Are you high? If you are high, how high are you, really? Or really did you just want those little cheeseburgers (no ketchup and extra pickles)?

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Ontario considers promoting Safe Texting Zones for Drivers

May 21, 2016, Huffington Post (TORONTO, ONTARIO)

Ontario is considering the idea of putting signs on highways to alert drivers about upcoming areas where they can safely pull over to text or check their emails.

All three parties voted in favour on second reading of a private member's bill from Progressive Conservative Vic Fedeli to create so-called safe texting zones.

Fedeli says signs on highways would inform drivers about 185 existing areas such as commuter parking lots, transit stations and rest stops where they can safely pull off to use their smart phones or tablets.

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Google patents sticky glue to catch pedestrians hit by self-driving cars

May 20, 2016, Global News (TORONTO, ONTARIO)

Google has come up with a strange way to help pedestrians should they be hit by one of the company’s self-driving cars – sticky glue.

The idea is pretty simple – the self-driving car would have a sticky glue-like adhesive layer positioned on the front hood, front bumper and the sides of the vehicle, according to a recently published patent application from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

That way, if the car were to hit a pedestrian, they would “stick” to the hood of the car instead of bouncing back onto the road.

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Amendments to safety standards for (heavy) road vehicles


The Regulation respecting safety standards for road vehicles has been amended and a number of the amendments will take effect on November 20, 2016.

These regulatory amendments will more closely align Québec’s heavy vehicle standards with those of other Canadian jurisdictions. They will also serve to clarify certain regulatory provisions in order to take into account technical and technological changes to road vehicles.

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Distracted driving numbers down in Calgary following harsher legislation

May 18, 2016, Metro (CALGARY, ALBERTA)

Six months ago, Staff Sgt. Paul Stacey told Metro you couldn’t throw a rock in Calgary without hitting a distracted driver.

So far in 2016, distracted driving tickets in Calgary are down by nearly 300 tickets compared to the same time frame last year.

Stacey said between January to March of 2016 CPS has given out 1,934 distracted driving tickets—down 278 tickets from the same time frame last year.

Stacey attributes the decrease in tickets to harsher punishment, as the slow-down has been evident since legislation was passed supporting increased penalties for distracted drivers.

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When is stoned too stoned? About half of Canadians who drive while high insist pot doesn’t impair them

May 17, 2016, National Post (TORONTO, ONTARIO)

About half of pot-smoking Canadians who get behind the wheel while high believe the drug doesn’t impair their ability to drive safely — and 20 per cent say nothing would make them stop driving while stoned.

That’s the conclusion of a new survey, suggesting considerable nonchalance about marijuana and driving. It comes as the federal government studies the idea of setting legal limits for driving under the influence of weed, similar to the legal alcohol limit.

A government scientific advisory committee is reviewing international literature to determine if there is a consensus on appropriate blood-level limits for THC, the major psychoactive component of marijuana, Justice Canada told the National Post Tuesday.

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arrive alive DRIVE SOBER campaign launch "timely" with Canada's National Road Safety Week and Victoria Day Weekend

May 17, 2016, Canada Newswire (TORONTO, ONTARIO)

arrive alive DRIVE SOBER® launched its 28th annual sober driving campaign at the arrive alive DRIVE SOBER offices at 1387 Bayview Avenue on Tuesday, May 17th.  After 28 years of messaging, arrive alive DRIVE SOBER is continuing to raise awareness in general terms and also specifically about: thanking sober drivers (CAA SCO supported), the penalties for impaired driving ("Have you thought about them?"), drugged driving (Potchecks), and being impaired in the morning (from the "night before").

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Canada Road Safety Week kicks off Tuesday

May 16, 2016, CTV News (LONDON, ONTARIO)

A national campaign aimed at making Canada's roads the safest in the world starts tomorrow.

Canada Road Safety Week is a police initiative designed to remind people that an essential part of the enforcement component is to save lives and reduce injuries on the road.

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RoadWatch helping keep roads safe: Manitoba Public Insurance


Nearly 1,500 impaired drivers have been taken off the road over the last six years thanks to RoadWatch, an impaired-driving initiative sponsored by Manitoba Public Insurance.

Over this same period of time (2010-2015), a total of 375,000 vehicles were screened by participating law enforcement agencies. In total, 12,000 Highway Traffic Act offence notices (e.g. suspended drivers, speeding, texting while driving, non-seatbelt use) were issued to offending drivers.

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Bill 16 would make Alberta’s roads safer

May 16, 2016, Alberta Transportation (EDMONTON, ALBERTA)

Nine amendments to the Traffic Safety Act would clarify regulations for some transportation operations and clarify enforcement regulations. These amendments would establish regulations for Transportation Network Companies, modify rules related to impaired driving (e.g. exemptions from the Ignition Interlock Program) and address minor inconsistencies in the current legislation.

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Road deaths up in 2015, pedestrian and cyclists' deaths at all-time low

May 13, 2016, Montreal Gazette (MONTREAL, QUEBEC)

After eight years of consecutive declines, road deaths increased last year, according to the latest figures released by the Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec.

A total of 361 people died in 2015, 39 more than the previous year, while serious injuries remained relatively stable, with just a 0.3 per cent increase. Minor injuries were up 3.2 per cent.

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Saskatchewan ad campaign latest measure to crack down on impaired driving

May 13, 2016, Global News (REGINA, SASKATCHEWAN)

A new multimedia advertising campaign will hit airwaves on Sunday, blanketing TV, radio, movie theatres, and online.

The minute-long SGI advertisement features images of men, women and children disappearing into a void, leaving their loved ones on their own.

It ends with a young girl disappearing as she blows out birthday candles, a stark reminder that impaired driving can snuff out the most innocent of lives.

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Halton police on the lookout for Big 4 Killers

May 12, 2016, insideHALTON (BURLINGTON, ONTARIO)

Police are on the lookout for what they call the Big 4 Killers.

May 17-23 marks Road Safety Week in Canada and Halton Regional Police says it will be utilizing education and enforcement to drive home the message that certain driving circumstances are dangerous and even potentially deadly.

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New legislation protects Canadian consumers from vehicle defects

May 11, 2016, Transport Canada (OTTAWA, ONTARIO)

The Government of Canada today introduced new legislation to increase Canada’s powers to protect Canadians from vehicle defects.

The proposed legislation –the Strengthening Motor Vehicle Safety for Canadians Act– aims to keep our roads safe, protect Canadian consumers, and would give the Minister power to:

  • order a company to issue a recall;
  • make companies repair a recalled vehicle at no cost to the consumer; and
  • prevent new vehicles from being sold in Canada until they are repaired.

Additional changes include the ability to impose monetary penalties (fines) for violations of the Act and the ability to leverage those fines to require companies to take additional safety action.

The bill was introduced today in the Senate by Senator Peter Harder. Due to the high volume of legislative items on the House of Commons agenda, the Government of Canada opted to first introduce the bill in the Senate in order to quickly initiate the legislative process. Once approved by the Senate, the bill will be sent to the House of Commons to complete the legislative process.

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Morbid faux funeral home ad urges Toronto motorists to text and drive

May 11, 2016, Metro (TORONTO, ONTARIO)

Call it dark humour, call it offensive, or just call it effective.

However you feel about it, a new billboard near Toronto’s Gardiner Expressway is doing one thing right – it’s getting attention.

The ad, seemingly from a ‘Wathan Funeral Home’ says simply “text and drive,” with the funeral home’s logo beneath.

The catch? Wathan Funeral Home isn’t real.

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Fatal crashes involving pot use doubled in Wash. after legalization

May 10, 2016, CTV News (VANCOUVER, B.C.)

As Canada moves closer to ending pot prohibition, a new report is raising questions about what impact legalization has had on deadly traffic accidents south of the border.

After Washington State made recreational marijuana use legal, the number of drivers who were involved in fatal crashes and had pot in their systems doubled, according to the American Automobile Association’s report.

The number went up from eight per cent in 2013 to 17 per cent in 2014.

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B.C. takes hard line with bigger fines for distracted driving

May 10, 2016, Vancouver Sun (VANCOUVER, B.C.)

Drivers who use cellphones will soon face tougher penalties in British Columbia after the government announced Monday those caught breaking the rule will face escalating fines and the possibility of a driving prohibition for repeat offenders, beginning June 1.

The current penalty of $167 for distracted driving will increase to $543 for a first offence ($368 base fine, plus $175 in penalty point premium), $888 for a second offence within a year and $1,600 for a third offence. Drivers caught using cellphones will also see demerit points on their licence increase from three to four points.

As well, the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles will automatically review a driver’s licence after two tickets and, at his discretion, can impose a driving prohibition of three to 12 months.

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Insurance Institute of Canada issues “call to action” on driverless vehicles

May 5, 2016, Canadian Underwriter (TORONTO, ONTARIO)

Clear determination of responsibility is essential to ensuring effective insurance coverage of driverless vehicles, but the “next 10 years may have less clarity about responsibility than the past 40 or 50 years,” according to a new report released on Thursday by the Insurance Institute of Canada.

The report, titled Automated Vehicles: Implications for the Insurance Industry in Canada, is a “call to action for Canada’s insurance industry to become engaged in discussions with automakers, regulators, and others who will influence the introduction of semi-automated and self-driving vehicles in Canada, and to become a champion for the expected reduction in traffic fatalities and serious injuries.” In particular, the report explores how vehicle automation is anticipated to affect road safety, claims, road infrastructure, insurance premiums and policy coverage over the next decade.

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Nova Scotia's jaywalking fine could be part of wider review, minister says

May 5, 2016, CBC News (HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA)

The Nova Scotia government has temporarily put the brakes on implementing a controversial — and hefty — fine for jaywalking included in legislation passed last fall.

The change would boost the fine to nearly $700 from $410 — more than the penalty for using a cellphone behind the wheel.

Transportation Minister Geoff MacLellan said Thursday the fine portion of the legislation hasn't been proclaimed yet because it may be reviewed ahead of the release of a road safety strategy in June.

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Calgary speed limit study rejected but council approves rest of pedestrian strategy

May 3, 2016, CBC News (CALGARY, ALBERTA)

City council adopted a new strategy Tuesday aimed at making Calgary safer and more convenient for pedestrians but rejected a major plank of the proposal — a study of lower speed limits in residential areas.

The rest of the 50-point strategy, which includes plans to re-examine road designs, look at safer crosswalk options and boost public education efforts, was adopted unanimously.

But, by a 7-6 margin, council voted against having city staff undertake public consultation and prepare a report on even the possibility of reducing residential speed limits.

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Temporary concrete curbs for roads to slow speeders in select Calgary neighbourhoods

May 3, 2016, CBC News (CALGARY, ALBERTA)

The City of Calgary is rolling out a new program to get drivers to slow down in certain neighbourhoods, and hopefully reduce the number of crashes.

Rather than permanently narrow roads, the city plans to create temporary curb extensions, road medians and small roundabouts using movable, oval-shaped bright yellow concrete units.

This pilot program will allow the city to calm traffic in areas where previously there was no budget for it, said Tony Churchill, a senior traffic safety engineer with the city.

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Canadian Events & Conferences in 2016

Transportation Association of Canada (TAC) Conference and Exhibition

Theme:  Efficient Transportation – Managing the Demand

Toronto, Ontario, September 25-28, 2016

Learn more…