Zombie pedestrians and distracted drivers are plaguing the nation according to the Canadian Safety Council and Police departments across Canada.
Despite legislation against the use of cell phones and texting while driving in all provinces except Nanavut, distracted driving accidents continue to be a problem. Additionally, the number of pedestrian fatalities in Toronto has hit a 10-year high.
In 2010 a Canadian grass roots organization was created in an effort to raise awareness about the dangers of distracted driving. Drop It and Drive has presented their reality-based workshops to approximately 20,000 students, faculty, and corporations throughout British Columbia, Alberta, Ottawa, and Ontario.
City of Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson actually awarded the program the citys Safer Roads Ottawa Champions award in June 2012.
Drop It and Drive, based in British Columbia, offers no-fee high school presentations and corporate risk management workshops as well as an elementary school program, which is more education based than other programs and allows children to express their thoughts on this safety issue.
Corporate presentations offer a combination of personal stories, videos, images and statistical information on distracted driving. Speakers include emergency service personnel and law enforcement officials.
Efforts are being made across Canada to bring light to this important issue affecting our roads.
Across Ottawa, police and experts are warning distracted walkers to be vigilant when crossing the road. Listening to music, failing to walk against traffic, crossing outside of a crosswalk, and other habits can be dangerous. Talking or texting on an electronic device is a common issue with pedestrians, as is walking and drinking.
A Toronto Facebook campaign was also started in 2013 to urge the province to pass a bill that will ticket drivers caught on their cell phones as well as issue demerit points. Seven provinces currently do this and many are hoping Ontario will follow suit.
In 2010 there were more than 290 pedestrian deaths, a decrease since 2009. However, Toronto is experiencing a surge in pedestrian fatalities with 38 reported this year; 22 of the victims were over the age of 65. Two of the main causes of fatalities were pedestrians crossing outside a crosswalk following by drivers failing to yield the right-of-way when turning.
Distracted drivers are also to blame for some pedestrian accidents. According to a study by Allstate Insurance, the rate of car accidents in Ontario is stable, however distracted driving accidents continue to be on the rise. In London, police have cited 23 per cent more fines for distracted driving in 2013 than they did in 2012.
For more information on Drop It and Drive and how you can schedule a presentation, visit https://diad.tirf.ca/.