Manitoba Road Safety Week shifts into gear: RCMP, Winnipeg Police and Manitoba Public Insurance

RCMP, Winnipeg Police and Manitoba Public Insurance encourage drivers to reduce speed and evaluate their driving behaviour

September, 2007 – If you routinely drive faster than the speed limit, drive unbuckled on short trips or take the wheel after consuming alcohol, Manitoba Road Safety Week is designed especially for you.

Community partners kicked off Manitoba Road Safety Week today with the annual launch of the neighbourhood SpeedWatch Program, a volunteer-based initiative designed to make speeding motorists aware that they are traveling over the limit. Groups of community residents will be taking to the streets with speed-reader boards, provided by Manitoba Public Insurance, that measure the speeds of vehicles as they pass by and then display the results to drivers.

Other activities planned by Manitoba partners during the week include the Winnipeg School Safety Patrol Awards and the kick-off of Manitoba Public Insurance’s RoadWatch program, which provides funding for police to conduct additional impaired driving roadside checks throughout the summer.

Manitoba Road Safety Week, May 15-21, is an annual campaign presented by Manitoba Public Insurance, Winnipeg Police Service, RCMP and the City of Winnipeg Traffic Engineering Department. It supports National Road Safety Week, which is sponsored by Transport Canada and the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police. The week is part of Road Safety Vision 2010, a country-wide effort to make Canada’s roads the safest in the world by 2010.

“Evaluating our driving habits on a regular basis is a good thing to do,” said Clif Eden, Road Safety Manager of Manitoba Public Insurance. “Many of us take driving for granted. It becomes a daily routine, a part of our life we often don’t give much thought to.”

“But every time you get behind the steering wheel you have to make hundreds of decisions, many of them in a split second. Driving is not an automatic elevator ride. It requires 100 per cent of our attention and skill.”

Road Safety Week is strategically timed to lead up to the first summer long weekend, when more vehicles are on the road and traffic crashes trend upwards. The focus is on behaviours that put drivers, passengers and other road users most at risk: impaired driving, speeding and seat belt use.

This year Manitoba Public Insurance is strongly encouraging motorists to watch their speed. A recent study reported that driving at inappropriate speeds triples the odds of getting into a crash because it reduces reaction time and increases stopping distances.

About a quarter of all fatalities on Manitoba roadways have excessive speed as a factor, explained Eden.

“Speeding is one of the most common contributing factors in fatalities, injuries and motor vehicle collisions in Manitoba, second only to the influence of alcohol,” said Eden. “The faster the car is traveling, the more severe the crash.”

Speed Facts:

  • A motorist is more likely to kill a pedestrian driving at 60 km/h than 50 km/h.
  • If you hit a pedestrian while driving at about 50 km/h, the pedestrian’s survival chance is 80 per cent. But if you hit a pedestrian while driving at about 60 km/h, the pedestrian’s chances of dying are about 80 per cent more.
  • Not paying attention is one of the top reasons why people exceed the speed limit or drive too fast for conditions.

About MPI

Manitoba Public Insurance is a nonprofit Crown Corporation that has provided basic automobile coverage since 1971. Our services are available throughout Manitoba in claim centres and Customer Service centres. For more information, please visit http://www.mpi.mb.ca.