The Brampton Road Safety Committee is launching a Distracted Driving Campaign to make Brampton’s roads and rail crossings safer. This event will kick off during the Road Today Truck Show on Saturday, May 26 at the Powerade Center in Brampton, and run through the month of June.
One of the leading causes of injury and death in Brampton is traffic collisions. In an average year, more than 2,500 Brampton residents attend hospital emergency wards as a result of collisions. In 2011, twenty-eight people died on our streets in fatal collisions. Already this year we have had four fatal collisions – twice as many as had occurred by this time last year. As well, two pedestrians have been killed in 2012 after being struck by vehicles.
Although it is difficult to measure exactly how many of these collisions are caused by distracted driving, the OPP lists distracted driving as one of the four leading causes of death on Ontario roads. The others are impaired driving, speeding and failure to wear seatbelts.
Brampton’s Distracted Driving Campaign will adopt a three-prong approach: enforcement, education and citizen engagement. The Peel Regional Police and the Ontario Provincial Police (Port Credit detachment) will step up enforcement of Ontario’s distracted driving laws during the month of June. Drivers caught using cell phones or other handheld devices while driving face fines of $155.
During the campaign, Brampton Road Safety Committee member agencies will provide education to young drivers in school workshops and poster campaigns to teach them about the potential consequences of texting, talking and other distractions when operating a vehicle. In a recent U.S. road safety study, 30% of teen drivers reported they have texted while driving. This is a very dangerous practice considering that, at highway speeds of 90 km per hour or more, a vehicle will travel more than 30 meters in as little as 2 seconds – the time it takes to briefly glance at a cell phone screen.
“We are asking citizens to take part in this important distracted driving campaign”, says Brampton Road Safety Committee Chair Manan Gupta. “The first thing they can do is take a look at their own driving habits. If drivers realize they are guilty of talking or texting on their mobile phones, eating or drinking while driving or changing channels on the car radio, they can lessen their chances of being in a collision by making a choice to stop doing these activities when driving. Smart drivers just drive.”
Citizens can also take part in the campaign by talking to other drivers they can influence. For example, parents can talk to their teens, or to elderly family members who still drive. Older drivers are especially vulnerable to distracted driving collisions as a consequence of their changing skill levels and longer reaction time due to age.
Distracted driving can be a serious issue for employees who drive as part of their jobs: taxi drivers talking on their two-way radios; long-haul truckers texting to relieve the boredom of their trip; and sales people using in-car computers or other high-tech gadgets while driving to connect with customers or their home office. These are three common examples of workplace-related driving situations that lead to distracted driving fatalities.
All citizens are invited and encouraged to come to the launch and be a part of the Distracted Driving Campaign. The launch ceremony will begin at 10:30 a.m. inside the Powerade Centre.
The 4th Annual Road Today Truck Show will highlight a number of road safety programs, as well as having lots of entertainment for kids and families. There will be a ‘driving simulator’ where drivers can experience firsthand– without putting their lives on the line– what can happen when driving while distracted.
For more information about the Truck Show, visit www.roadtodaytruckshow.com; and for more information about the upcoming distracted driving campaign, contact the Brampton Safe City Association at 905-793-5484 or visit: www.bramptonsafecity.ca.