It’s National Road Safety Week in Canada, a time to bring awareness to safe driving and safer practices on our roads, with a focus on distracted driving for this year’s campaign.
“It’s hard to overstate the importance of distracted driving awareness,” said Jack Smith, President of the Canada Safety Council. “This is a serious problem on Canadian roads. We live in a society where people believe it’s important to be in contact at all times, whether it’s with work, family or friends. But the world won’t stop spinning if you let a phone call go to voicemail or take a little longer than usual to answer a text message or an email. Keep your attention squarely where it belongs: on the road.” [Canada Safety Council]
Everything that you are doing while driving, that takes your focus off of the road, even for a second, can be considered distracted driving. Checking GPS, using the phone (hands-free or not), eating, grooming—it all increases your chance of an accident. In fact, texting drivers are 23 times more likely to be involved in a car accident than non-distracted drivers.
In Calgary, the City is focusing on reduced speeding for this year’s National Road Safety campaign. In our city, excessive speeding is a factor in an average 13 per cent of casualty collisions in a five-year span.
Tony Churchill, Leader of Traffic Safety at Roads, says speeding, even a little, can greatly reduce safety for you, your passengers, and others outside your vehicle.
“Some drivers believe it’s okay to speed a little – that as long as they aren’t speeding more than 5-10 km/h over the limit, they will be safe,” says Churchill. “But the data shows this is not true. Driving just 10 km/h over the limit can impact your reaction time and increase the risk of collision as much as driving impaired by alcohol at the legal limit.” [City of Calgary]
When it comes to keeping roads safer in your community, did you know the City of Calgary has a Community Speed Watch Program? This program allows Calgarians to volunteer their time to increase awareness about speed in their communities. The primary focus area for this program is in playground zones and residential roads where speed is a concern. The speed limits of these types of roads are generally 30 km/hour or 50 km/hour.
To sign up to take part in the Community Speed Watch Program:
- Submit your name and contact info
- Location and time of concern
- Note the situation and speed limit, and a preferred time and date to run program
- City staff will contact you to confirm availability or arrange an alternate date
Find out more about this program and community road safety online here.