Written by: Dale Orlando
Distracted and impaired drivers continue to get behind the wheels of cars in Canada every day. Fortunately, both of these life-threatening hazards are recognized, understood, and being addressed by law enforcement, safety organizations and the government.
As a personal injury lawyer, I applaud their efforts. There is absolutely no good reason for me to see victims of these 100% preventable incidents at my Toronto office. Happily, there are many advocacy groups that have formed to eliminate both distracted and impaired driving.
It Can Wait Campaign
AT&T’s It Can Wait is a program urges people to understand that no text message is worth a life. Through this campaign, awareness about the issue of texting and driving is being raised, particularly with teenagers. It Can Wait has published a video series that documents real stories of people who have been involved in texting-and driving-related crashes. It has also developed an app that disables cell phones when put in “drive mode,” and provides education to teenagers in high schools across the United States. To learn more, or take the no texting and driving pledge, visit www.itcanwait.com
Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD)
MADD Canada’s mission is “to stop impaired driving and to support victims of this violent crime.” MADD is working toward this mission through numerous education and awareness programs that seek to lower the number of lives taken as a result of impaired driving.
Change the Conversation
Change the Conversation is a national education program on impaired driving in Canada. It was created as a partnership between the Traffic Injury Research Foundation, Arrive Alive Drive Sober and the Student Life Education Company. Although we have heard the slogan “don’t drink and drive” time and time again, alcohol continues to be a factor in approximately 30% of fatal collisions. Change the Conversation strives to change the way that this important message is presented to today’s drivers by sharing resources about the magnitude of impaired driving in Canada, the laws established to prevent drinking and driving, and how the system deals with drunk drivers. The program particularly focuses on reaching a teenaged audience, as impaired driving is a significant issue in this age bracket.
What can I do to make driving safer for everyone?
- Always call 911 if you suspect that there is an impaired driver on the road.
- Choose a designated driver before going out.
- Never let someone that you think is impaired get behind the wheel. Suggest another way for them to get home, take away their keys, or find them a safe place to stay the night.
- Teach children from a young age that it is unsafe to drink and drive, and always model safe behaviour.
- If you are holding a social gathering, always offer non-alcoholic beverages. Never pressure guests to drink alcohol.
- Understand the dangers of operating any vehicle while impaired, including bicycles, motorcycles, scooters and boats.
- Monitor teenagers’ access to vehicles at all times.
Be sure your teenagers know the facts about impaired driving and understand that driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is never acceptable.