CAA calls for safer drivers, safer vehicles, safer roads

Canadian Accident Association

December 17, 1999

Ontario motorists face third highest traffic injury rate in Canada.

Toronto: Ontario is the third most dangerous province in which to drive, based on injury statistics from Transport Canada, says CAA Ontario. Transport Canadaís recently released 1998 Motor Vehicle Traffic Collision Statistics shows that drivers face the greatest risk of injury in Manitoba, followed by British Columbia and then Ontario.

“We are concerned that, despite new programs to combat drunk driving, young-driver crashes and unsafe trucks, Ontario remains among the most likely places in Canada to be injured in traffic,” says CAA Ontario spokesman David Leonhardt. “The one bright spot is that Ontario has an enviable record in avoiding the most severe injury – loss of life.”

Ontario government figures from 1997 show that lower limb fractures are the most frequent injuries requiring hospitalization, followed by neck and trunk fractures; non-fracture intracranial injuries; internal chest, abdomen and pelvis injuries; upper limb fractures and skull fractures. Had they been part of the list, injuries that lead to fatalities would rank fourth.

Because the need to make Ontario roads safer is so desperate, Leonhardt says CAA Ontario will participate in Transportation Minister David Turnbullís Safe Driving Advisory Group. “If the Group’s work leads to even a few road safety improvements, it will be well worth the time and effort.”

Leonhardt cautioned, however, that focusing on drivers alone will have limited benefits. “Roads will have to be improved too. We need safe drivers in safe vehicles driving on safe roads.”

Growing population and expanding trade have increased the number of cars and trucks on the road, says Leonhardt, but road expansion has not kept pace. Despite increased road-spending this year, he says that needs are increasing faster. “Grid-lock not only threatens to stifle economic growth; it puts our very safety at risk.”

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