It's that time of year again, and insurance companies and police forces are gearing up to battle the temptation among drivers to indulge in holiday cheer and drive. To combat the urge to drink and drive, proactive organizations are rolling out various programs across the country. One such is Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI). This month’s safe driving program has a specific and timely focus.

“We run a program each month concerning safe driving. But with the holidays here this month we're focusing on drunk driving,” says Kelley Brinkworth, Manager of Media Relations at SGI.

She notes that in Saskatchewan, impaired driving is back in the number one spot for traffic-related fatalities in Saskatchewan after slipping out of first place for a couple years.

"In 2012 distracted driving became the number one cause related to fatal accidents. But in 2014 impaired driving was again the leading factor in fatal accidents," says Brinkworth. “So this is something we need to think about.”

Over the holidays Saskatchewan police will be out in greater numbers (as is the case in every province). Law enforcement will be looking for drivers who are impaired by either drugs or alcohol throughout the month of December. Another good reminder Brinkworth mentioned: Illegal drugs, as well as some prescription drugs (e.g. anti-depressants, pain killers) and over-the-counter drugs (e.g. antihistamines, motion sickness medications) can impact driving ability. Mixing different drugs together or mixing drugs with alcohol could increase impairment levels by as much as three times. Drivers should review the side effects of any medication they're taking with their doctor or pharmacist to understand how it could affect their driving.

“This is another message that isn't always out there,” says Brinkworth. “But some prescription medications can increase impairment when mixed with alcohol.”

Drivers are also reminded of the Report Impaired Drivers (RID) program. RID is a road safety program that encourages the public to call 911 to report a suspected impaired driver. If you see a driver you think is impaired, pull over safely to the side of the road and call 911.

Meanwhile in Ontario, this holiday season in Waterloo some school bus drivers will not have a chance to drink and drive this year. A new and interesting technology is just now being tested in that city. A new start up in the tech-oriented town has invented a touch-based bio sensor technology to monitor drivers while they are behind the wheel. The device sniffs alcohol through their skin. It is currently being used by some area school bus companies. The device could, presumably, make drunk driving a thing of the past. Before the driver starts the engine the driver has to place their palm on a sensor built into the steering wheel. This activates the vehicle's ignition. While on the road, Sober Steering requires the driver to "check in" with the system to ensure they haven't been drinking behind the wheel. If the driver consumed alcohol it would only take the sensor five minutes to detect the ethanol off the palm of their skin. Plans are to gradually roll out Sober Steering in various fleet vehicles, like construction machinery and coach buses.

Other provinces are taking the opportunity during the holidays to launch new programs or remind motorists of those already in place. The CAA of Alberta has a page on that province's Designated Driver programs, Manitoba Public Insurance has Operation Red Nose, and nationally, there's MADD Canada's Change the Conversation.

Source: Collision Repair


Last updated on: 2015-12-15 | Link to this post