In 2014, in the province of Alberta alone, there were nearly 145,000 collisions – causing close to 19,000 injuries and 370 fatalities. These numbers are staggering, especially when you consider that other provinces across the country are recording similar statistics. The data clearly shows us that something needs to change, and change we will.
In 1997, the Parliament of Sweden passed into law a road traffic safety bill called Vision Zero. This set the country’s sites on a target of no fatalities or serious injuries – zero. Through improved infrastructure, technology, traffic control and education, Sweden has successfully managed to reduce traffic deaths by half since 2000. While not quite zero, this is certainly a major improvement, making the country an international leader in the area of road safety. And lead the way they have, sharing their best strategies and resources with the rest of the world; Vision Zero has inspired us all.
Here at home, the initiative has sparked change from coast to coast. Provinces are working toward policy change; infrastructure improvement and important conversations have been started. In fact, in my home province of Alberta, the city of Edmonton is the first in Canada to have outlined and begun implementing a strategy that will see measurable change each year to 2020. It won’t be long before other cities follow in their footsteps.
We have a responsibility.
As a Canadian, I am proud to be able to use my voice and my vote to steer change for the good. As a broker, I feel it is incumbent on the industry to play a bigger role in getting Canadians to ‘zero’. While we may not be able to directly impact infrastructure changes, traffic enforcement, or policy, we can be leaders in education.
We have never been better equipped to educate drivers than we are right now -technology at our fingertips, research and understanding of our downfalls, the resources to improve them, and an incredible array of platforms to reach the road ready masses.
New Drivers Coach – Turning young drivers into leaders.
Old habits die hard, but change is possible – and we’ll get to that, but what about starting with the right habits to begin with? Earning a license is more than gold-star parallel parking and shoulder-checking. Sure it makes for a good driver, and driver education programs have come a long way. Consider resources like the Province of Alberta’s ‘Geared to Go’, that give parents the tools to properly coach their teens instead of passing on a legacy of old habits; certainly this is a step in the right direction. Combine this support with real data collected for the Driver and Coach to review and you are building a responsible driver. What is it that makes a responsible driver? It’s a driver that can be self-aware, recognize their faults and independently move to change. It’s a driver that understands the risks inherent to the road and does their best to mitigate those risks. It’s a driver that recognizes that it’s not just their own safety on the line each time they get behind the wheel, but that of every driver and pedestrian along the way.
#DriveToThrive – Let’s start the conversation
The #DriveToThrive initiative is a first step toward creating a new generation of responsible drivers. At DriveToThrive.ca, what is starting out as an Alberta pilot for grad 2016, as a tool to educate young drivers about the impact of driving impaired, will evolve to meet the challenges of improving driver safety.
It’s time to change the way we think about road safety. It’s time to change the way we educate our new drivers. And, it’s time to work together. It is through community collaboration such as this, that we can achieve our goal. Vision Zero is within reach.
Sources (Additional to those linked in the article):