TIRF: New resource centre for young and new drivers launched

OTTAWA, May 21 2008 – The Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF) is pleased to announce the launch of the Young and New Driver Resource Centre.

The new centre – created under funding from Toyota Canada Inc. (TCI) – is a one-stop shop on young and new driver issues that is designed for parents, young and novice drivers, researchers, and policymakers. It contains in-depth information on graduated driver licensing (GDL) and driver education programs, research, and other young driver safety initiatives that are available in Canada.

To coincide with the launch of the centre, TIRF is releasing a new report on young drivers entitled, Youth and Road Crashes: Magnitude, Characteristics, and Trends. This new report is available through the centre.

“Despite significant declines in the young driver crash problem, motor vehicle collisions are still the leading cause of death among young people, out-stripping suicide and other accidents,” says Dan Mayhew, senior vice-president at TIRF and a leading researcher on young driver issues.

The report reveals that one-third of all deaths and injuries among young people aged 15 to 24 are due to road crashes and that motor vehicle collisions are the leading cause of hospital admissions among youth.

Mayhew also notes that recent trends are not promising and there has been little improvement with regards to young driver crashes in the last several years.

“While auto makers like Toyota offer leading-edge safety systems, it doesn’t end with vehicle design,” says Stephen Beatty, managing director at TCI. “New improvements to GDL and driver education programs can help make Canada a leader in reducing young driver collisions.”

Mayhew shares Beatty’s outlook, noting that policy and program improvements will be needed to reduce young driver crashes in the coming years.

“Reducing young driver crashes is not a simple issue; it will involve the help of young drivers, parents, researchers, and policymakers,” says Mayhew. “Part of our motivation for creating the centre was to develop a resource that could speak to all of these groups – giving each of them meaningful information that can help with decision making.”

Moving forward, Mayhew hopes to see Canadians use the resource centre when looking for information on young and new driver issues.

“Toyota Canada is committed to keeping everyone on the road safe – including young and new drivers,” says Beatty. “The creation of this resource centre is a step in the right direction and we were pleased to support this initiative.”

“Whether you’re trying to improve GDL programs, select a driving school, or just looking for facts about young drivers – the centre contains something for everyone,” says Mayhew.

The Young and New Driver Resource Centre can be accessed at: http://www.trafficinjuryresearch.com/yndrc/default.asp.

The Youth and Road Crashes: Magnitude, Characteristics, and Trends report can be accessed at: http://www.trafficinjuryresearch.com/yndrc/magnitude-trends-report.asp.

About TIRF:

Established in 1964, TIRF’s mission is to reduce traffic-related deaths and injuries. As a national, independent, charitable road safety institute – TIRF designs, promotes, and implements effective programs and policies, based on sound research. TIRF is a registered charity and depends on grants, contracts, and donations to provide services for the public. More information about TIRF can be found at: www.trafficinjuryresearch.com.

About Toyota Canada:

Toyota Canada Inc. (TCI) is the exclusive Canadian distributor of Toyota cars, trucks, sports utility vehicles and forklifts, as well as Lexus luxury vehicles, through a sales and service network of over 260 dealers across Canada. A consistent award winner for product quality and ownership satisfaction, Toyota has sold over three million vehicles in Canada. More information about Toyota is available at www.toyota.ca, or through the Toyota Canada Customer Interaction Centre at 1-888-TOYOTA8.