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Every new year means new resolutions. Whether it’s losing weight, saving money, or spending more time with loved ones, it’s good to start the year with new goals.
But if you’re tired of the old clichéd goals or don’t want to have to fight the January lineups at the gym, we have seven ideas that can make for a safer new you in 2017.
1. No cellphone use while driving.
For the first time in decades, driving fatalities increased in 2016 and texting and driving was the main culprit. No message is more important than someone’s life. So let’s all vow to put those phones away while behind the wheel.
2. End all other driving distractions.
Of course, texting and cellphone use is one of the most dangerous driving habits on today’s roads but they’re not the only distractions causing us to crash. Whether it’s eating while driving, looking at you in the rear-view mirror, or fiddling too much with stereo or climate controls, there are too many things to distract our attention from the road. And no matter what you think, driving requires all your concentration.
3. Stop texting while walking.
Cellphones aren’t just a problem on the roads. They have become a rising problem on our sidewalks – someone out for a walk, focused on a text or a tweet and not paying attention to their surroundings. That’s the moment when they trip on a curb, collide with another pedestrian, or worse, step into moving traffic.
4. No driving while impaired.
We’ve known for decades the devastation caused by impaired driving, and yet people still do it. A 2016 study even ranked Canada as the worst offender in the industrialized world for drunk-driving fatalities. If you drink, don’t drive.
5. Be mindful of cyclists.
Whether you’re in a luxury SUV or a cute little microcar, you still have to be extra cautious when driving near and around cyclists. Always give them enough room, make eye contact, and as we’ve learned from the Dutch this year, be especially careful when opening the door into cycling lanes.
6. Be a safer cyclist.
There are more and more Vancouverites switching to bikes to get around the city. It’s a healthy and environmental-friendly way to get about, but safety must be a top priority. Our city’s protected bike lanes are a great addition, but you still have to follow the rules and take precautions before and during your ride.
7. Get ready for a disaster.
OK, some people thought 2016 was a disaster on its own, but the truth is, not many of us are prepared for a real emergency. Living along a fault line as we do, a serious earthquake would be mayhem for residents of the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island. And the first 72 hours are the most critical. So resolve to get your plan and kit together.
But of course, we’ll all hope that 2017 is a safe, happy, and joyful year for everyone.
It’s happened to almost all of us. You’re out with some friends or colleagues, you’ve had a drink or two, when suddenly you realize you should not drive. Good for you! But how do you deal with someone who’s passed the limit and still thinks they can drive?
Planning ahead is always the best way to prevent drunk driving. Whether you designate a driver to stay sober for the night or make plans to call a cab or take transit, a safe night starts with a safe plan. Get everyone in your group to agree and stick to it.
But sometimes, someone tries to drive while impaired. It’s dangerous. What can you do? According to MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving), there are a few things you should (and shouldn’t) do to stop them from driving while under the influence of alcohol.
Don’t be confrontational
Alcohol reduces our inhibitions, so even someone who is normally easy-going can turn into a mean drunk after a few. Confrontation can set them off. So be firm. But keep your cool.
Offer a safe alternative
Find them a cab, track down a sober driver, or plot out a bus route home. Offer to pay if that’s an issue or let them sleep it off at your place. Let them know there are many options, but driving drunk is not one of them.
Remember, they’ve been drinking and alcohol reduces our ability to process information. Talk to your friend in a slower manner than usual and explain the danger.
Get help from friends
Turn to others from your group to join in and act as moral support. It’s harder to fight off a group and it’s easier to persuade when the numbers are on your side.
Grab their keys
You can’t drive without keys, so if you can, take the keys. They’ll thank you later.
If nothing else works, then let the police do the job for you. It’s far better that they get pulled over and arrested than they kill or be killed in a drunken crash.
Ever head out on the highway and find yourself stuck behind a slow poke rusting away in the left lane? This is the passing zone, not the passing time zone! It’s annoying. It’s frustrating. And it’s illegal.
Yes, the sign says “Keep Right Except to Pass” – and it means it! In BC, the summer of 2015 kicked off with a new set of rules, with fines and penalties for those hogging the left lane. The law bans left lane driving, except when:
If you’re popping down south for a little USA getaway, you should also know they don’t care much for the left lane loafer. Nearly every state has some rule about requiring slower moving traffic to stick to the right.
If you’re passing through the Peace Arch, be aware that Washington State has some of the strictest. In the Evergreen State, the left lane is for turning or passing only. And they’re cracking down hard, handing out hefty tickets on the spot to left lane drivers not in a passing mood.
But why does this matter so much? Traffic flow and safety are the two big reasons. Research shows that a lot of traffic backups are caused by a few slow moving vehicles. The faster cars catch up, can’t get around, and soon choke the highway. When the slower cars stick to the right, they can be easily passed on the left improving traffic flow.
And when driving is smooth and effortless, everyone is safer. Too many car crashes are caused by drivers constantly switching and weaving in and out of lanes to get away from slower cars. An easy pass on the left makes for happier, safer travels. And in BC and Washington, a few more bucks in your pocket from NOT getting ticketed.
Holidays and long weekends make life all the more sweet. A family gathering, a night out with friends, and all too often, one drink too many. Unfortunately, they also come with a higher number of car crashes related to drinking and driving.
Of course, it doesn’t have to be this way. If you are going to drink this weekend, think ahead and plan a safe end.
Plan a safe way home
If you drink, don’t drive. Before you start the party, designate a driver to get you home safely. If that doesn’t work, take a taxi or transit or be prepared to stay where you are until you’ve sobered up.
Attend to friends and family
Keeping drunks off the road also means keeping an eye on your friends and family. If they’ve had too much, you might have to intervene and take away their keys. Offer a ride if you’re sober, get them into a taxi, or let them crash on the couch. Just don’t let them drive drunk! You don’t have to be confrontational, just let them know you have their best interests at heart. They’ll thank you later.
Watch for drunk drivers
If you suspect someone of being drunk behind the wheel, alert the authorities. Call 911 and give them the location and description of the car. But don’t get involved beyond that – leave it to the police to do their jobs.
Share the message
Drinking and driving is dangerous. Thanks to social media, you can now share this message with your friends and family. Just click one of the icons at the bottom of this page to share. It’s ok to let loose and have a few weekend libations, but it shouldn’t mean the end of someone’s life.
If they were handing out medals for drunk-driving fatalities, Canada would get the gold. But that sobering distinction is nothing to be proud of. In fact, being number one here is a great big zero.
This summer, the US Centers for Disease Control released a study on deaths linked to drinking and driving. It covered 19 of the world’s wealthiest countries. Unfortunately, Canada ranked number one with just over a third of all motor vehicle deaths in this country having a link to drunk driving.
The US, Australia, New Zealand, and France all came close, but Canada would do better to look to Germany, Japan, and Israel for inspiration. In all three of those countries, alcohol was a factor in less than 10% of all road crash deaths.
Legal experts say Canadian drunk driving laws are not tough enough. Robert Solomon is the national legal director at Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and says Canada has “the dumbest impaired-driving laws on the face of planet.” Solomon and MADD are pushing for changes to the law.
The first of those would be to lower the blood-alcohol limit from .08 to .05. The second would be to allow police to routinely screen a driver’s breath for alcohol. Right now, the police can only ask a driver for a breathalyzer test if they have “reasonable grounds” to suspect drinking and driving – such as the smell of alcohol, glazed eyes, or slurred speech.
The second of these proposals offers some legal challenges for Canadian lawmakers, but there is a bill before Parliament to look at doing just that. More on that in the coming months.
There are two things you should never mix with driving: drinking and your cellphone. But is it possible that your phone can actually help eliminate the risks of drinking and driving? There is an app for that! And a few other ways that technology can prevent you from driving while impaired.
In Canada, drivers are criminally impaired if they have more than 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood in their system – or .08% Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC). Yet in the five year period between 2008 and 2012, police across the country reported 793 incidents of impaired driving causing death.
According to section 253(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada, drivers can also be charged with a criminal offence even without proof that their BAC exceeds .08% if their ability to operate the vehicle is impaired by alcohol or drugs.
Education, awareness, and strict penalties are part of the solution. And now, so is technology. Here are a few tech tools helping to fight the problem.
A very simple app is SaferRide, developed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in the US. It works in Canada, too, so if you’ve had a drink and need help getting home, SaferRide is there. The app helps locate taxis, contact friends, and will even locate where you are (just in case it gets to that point). SaferRide is available for Android and Apple devices.
For a more advanced tech solution, BACtrack sells an array of personal breathalyzer devices. The BACtrack Vio and BACtrack Mobile Pro offer a plugin device that works with your smartphone. The attachment and the app will let you know if you’re pushing the legal limit. Prices range between US$50 and US$100. BACtrack also produces breathalyzer specific devices.
Driver Alcohol Detection Systems
There are technologies to prevent a car from starting if the driver is impaired. In BC, Alberta, Ontario, Quebec and all 50 US states, there are programs in place to install interlock devices in cars for those previously convicted of DUI offences – the car won’t start if they blow over the limit.
For everyday use, though, blowing into a tube to start the car is too much work. That’s why the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS) organization is exploring types of driving technologies that could be installed in future cars. One is a breath-based system that uses sensors to measure alcohol on your breath and the other is a touch system that literally puts drunk driving prevention at your fingertips.
Grade 12 students across British Columbia are anxiously counting down the final weeks of the academic calendar and their high school years. No doubt, graduation is a milestone in a young person’s life – a time filled with great anticipation and celebration.
Whether it’s the prom or the parties or the graduation ceremony itself, it’s a chockablock time of social and commemorative events. Unfortunately, some of those festivities end in tragedy on our streets and highways. Dangerous driving practices cut down too many young lives in this province. That’s why it is so important that we get the message out to young people.
The statistics are shocking and tragic. On average, 32 people in BC between the ages of 16 and 21 are killed in automobile accidents. Six of those deaths happen during the graduation season. The leading causes of those fatal crashes are speeding (39%), impaired driving (27%), and distracted driving (22%).
If you are a parent, relative, or friend of a graduate getting ready to celebrate, make sure they know how serious the matter is and that they should not participate in any of these activities. And just as important, make sure they don’t let their friends partake either.
It is a challenging, sometimes uncomfortable discussion for many adults to talk to talk to teenagers about – especially on the subject of drugs and underage drinking – but it is both responsible and vital. And it is a far easier conversation than speaking to a police officer after a tragic event.
So give your graduate the best gift possible: sit down with them and have that talk. Some things to go over:
These aren’t just important conversations to have at grad time or with teenagers alone – they apply to all of us at all time. But knowing the statistics and the risks inherent with this time of year, it’s a good idea to drive home those points about safe and responsible road habits.
根据BC省保险公司ICBC 的数据，在2007年BC 省有128人在设计酒驾的交通事故中丧生。这个数字接近当年全部交通事故丧生人数的三分之一。
BC省反酒驾团体自1980年早期开始建立。 MADD Canada， 今天最有声望的反酒驾团体，在1990年建立。
Start off the New Year with Resolutions for a safer 2015:
Have a safe and happy 2015!
A UK drunk-driving public service announcement (PSA) brings a different meaning to Kool & the Gang’s 1980 hit “Celebration”. The minute-long second spot hits home with impactful scenes and the ironic use of the dance track. The ad also marks the 50th anniversary of England’s first drunk-driving PSA.