Police roadblocks will include cannabis component this holiday season
Expect more roadblocks across British Columbia — also known as CounterAttack — as holiday celebrations commence and police try to cut down on impaired driving in December.
According to the Insurance Company of British Columbia, impaired driving kills almost 70 people in B.C. a year, but Delta Police Chief Neil Dubord says that figure is trending downwards thanks partly to the roadside prohibition program, resulting in immediate consequences for those who are found to be over the limit when stopped. Besides drunk drivers, police will also look for those who get behind the wheel stoned.
“I don’t think we’ll completely ever eliminate the problem, and certainly now with cannabis on the market, it’s going to be that little bit more difficult to round impaired driving,” Dubord says, adding drivers should expect the following questions from officers.
“Where are you coming from? How much have you had to drink tonight, or have you had anything to drink tonight? And now we’re also asking, have you consumed any marijuana?”
He says cannabis legalization has added a new dynamic to traffic law enforcement, though Delta officers will not be using a cannabis detector device.
“I don’t think you’ll see many police departments having the Drager DrugTest 5000 at the road side,” Dubord says.
If you plan on drinking or consuming other state altering substances, ICBC recommends to plan ahead and get a safe ride home either by taxi or a designated driver, or to simply stay the night. There is also ICBC’s Operation Red Nose throughout most of the Fraser Valley and Lower Mainland that will get you home safely.
If you get caught impaired behind the wheel, penalties can range from driving suspensions to vehicle impounding and hundreds of dollars in fines, to jail time, depending on the severity.
For more on CounterAttack, have a listen to this week’s Ask the Chief with Tim James who is discussing the initiative with Dubord.
Be safe out there.
MANITOBA INTRODUCES LEGISLATION THAT WOULD IMPLEMENT TOUGH PROVINCIAL SANCTIONS FOR DRUNK DRIVERS
The Manitoba government has introduced amendments to The Highway Traffic Act that would adopt more serious sanctions for drunk drivers while keeping more police on Manitoba’s roads, Justice Minister Cliff Cullen announced today.
“There are still too many people who haven’t gotten the message about drunk driving and they are taking the lives of too many Manitobans,” said Cullen. “Our government is sending a message to all Manitobans with our immediate roadside prohibition legislation – if you drink and drive, you will lose your licence, you will lose your vehicle and you will lose a lot of money.”
Under the proposed new law, drivers under the influence of alcohol who register a ‘warn’ on an approved screening device, suggesting a blood alcohol content (BAC) of between .05 and .08 would face a new monetary penalty of at least $200 for a first offence, escalating to at least $400 for a third or subsequent offence, to be established by regulation. They would also face a vehicle impoundment of between three days for a first offence and 30 days for a third or subsequent offence. Those drivers caught a third or subsequent time would also be required to drive with an ignition interlock for a year. These new sanctions would be on top of existing licence suspensions and other sanctions for ‘warn’ range drivers.
For first time drunk drivers that register a ‘fail’ on an approved screening device, which indicates a BAC over .08, who cause no bodily injury or death, police would have the discretion to impose a new monetary penalty of at least $500 as well as a mandatory ignition interlock of one year rather than proceeding with a criminal charge. The new sanctions would be comparable to those applied post-conviction and would be applied on top of the existing pre-conviction 90-day licence suspension, 30-day vehicle impoundment and mandatory Addictions Foundation of Manitoba assessment or remedial program required for all first-time drunk drivers with a BAC over .08 on a breathalyzer test.
Adding up all the administrative sanctions and penalties, the minimum cost for a ‘warn’ range driver would be $2,600 for a first offence to about $3,200 for a third or subsequent offence. The minimum cost for a ‘fail’ would be over $3,300. All monetary penalties would be established by regulation.
Under the new approach, testing could take as little as six minutes, which is significantly less than the time required to administer a breathalyzer and process a drunk driver criminally, which is often up to four hours. As a result, police officers would get back on the road sooner, allowing them to catch more drunk drivers.
Once proclaimed, the legislation would be accompanied by a provincewide public education campaign by Manitoba Public Insurance, further emphasizing the new costs and consequences of driving drunk.
In 2017, 73 people were killed and 442 were seriously injured in traffic collisions in Manitoba. Drunk driving accounted for 32 per cent of those killed and six per cent of those injured. Already this year, 28 people have lost their lives because of a drunk driver.
This new Immediate Roadside Prohibition approach to drunk driving was implemented in British Columbia in 2010. Since then, alcohol-related motor vehicle fatalities have decreased by 50 per cent and injuries have decreased by nearly 25 per cent. The British Columbia model is strongly supported by Mothers Against Drunk Driving Canada.
ICBC Pedestrian Safety Campaign – You Can’t Hear That
When drivers fail to yield, pedestrians pay the price. Busy intersections and shorter days mean that drivers need to be extra careful during fall and winter.
As the weather changes and daylight hours decrease, pedestrians become more vulnerable.
Nearly half (43 per cent) of all crashes with pedestrians happen between October and January. Even when drivers proceed with caution, it’s hard to see pedestrians when visibility is poor.
In B.C., 69 per cent of crashes involving pedestrians happen at intersections. Whether it’s taking a break from your phone or yielding the right-of-way, we all need to do our part to keep pedestrians safe.
Tips for drivers
- Focus on the road. Always leave your phone alone while driving.
- Be ready to yield to pedestrians, especially when turning at intersections and near transit stops.
- Remember, if a vehicle is stopped in front of you or in the lane next to you, they may be yielding for a pedestrian.
Tips for safe walking
- Be careful at intersections. Watch for drivers turning left or right through the crosswalk. Drivers may be focused on oncoming traffic and not see you.
- Always cross at designated crosswalks and follow pedestrian signs and traffic signals.
- Make eye contact with drivers, as it’s hard to see pedestrians when visibility is poor in fall in winter. Never assume that a driver has seen you.
- Remove your headphones and take a break from your phone while crossing the road.
- Be as reflective as possible to make it easier for drivers to see you in wet weather, at dusk and at night.
Full article and media clip
Resources now available for NTDSW 2018
|Parachute’s National Teen Driver Safety Week (NTDSW) is an annual campaign, designed to drive public awareness of teen driver safety issues and encourage community and youth involvement as part of the solution.
Our 2018 Community Toolkits are now available! Order your Community Toolkit today.
Our NTDSW 2018 community toolkits contain all the tools, printed material and swag you need to put on an amazing, educational and inspiring event! Activities in the toolkit include materials to support the
Positive Ticketing Campaign:
Back by popular demand, communities will partner with police to reward good drivers with “Positive Tickets”: road safety key messages written on a ballot to win prizes!
For 2018, our campaign will run from Monday, October 22 to Sunday, October 28. This year our messaging will once again focus on the key issues of drugged, distracted, alcohol-impaired and aggressive driving (including speeding).
Our NTDSW resource page has a wealth of materials to support NTDSW activities, including a shareable and printable infographic, a news release template for your local event, photo waiver template, backgrounder, key messages, and safety tips.
We will also encourage teens, parents and community partners to join the discussion on social media with us @ParachuteCanada, using the dedicated hashtags #NTDSW2018 and #KnowWhatImpairedMeans. Download our 2018 NTDSW Social Media Guide
The 29th CARSP Conference – May 2019
CARSP Conference 2019
May 26-29, 2019 – Calgary, Alberta – Hotel Arts
Theme: Vision Zero
Join us in May for the 2019 CARSP Conference where the theme will be Vision Zero. The trend of Canadian provinces and municipalities adopting Vision Zero as their road safety or transportation strategy, and the corresponding need this has created for clarification, sharing and inspiring change related to the Vision Zero approach, is the driving force behind the 2019 theme. Vision Zero got its roots in Sweden, where the approach has resulted in noteworthy successes – Sweden has one of the lowest annual rates of road deaths in the world (2.8 out of 100,000 as compared to 6.0 in Canada and 10.6 in the United States). Fatalities involving pedestrians have also fallen, by almost 50% in the last 5 years. Now, this approach is catching on throughout North America, with the hopes of achieving similar success. The focus of the conference will be on clarifying what a North-American version of Vision Zero should and shouldn’t look like, what strategies have worked, lessons learned, and lastly will look to the future in terms of where we need to go. These aspects of Vision Zero will be explored by means of plenary and panel sessions.
Stay tuned!…Subscribe to our conference email list so you don’t miss a conference update! Have questions? Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
New York’s Vision Zero success provides road map for others taking aim at pedestrian deaths
As Canadian cities struggle to find solutions to traffic-related pedestrian and cycling deaths, New York City is touting its remarkable four-year turnaround in making its streets safer — something the mayor says is the result of going all in on a Sweden-conceived road safety program.
New York credits its “Vision Zero” program for a 44 per cent drop in pedestrian deaths since 2014, with overall traffic fatalities down by 27 per cent. The first half of 2018 has seen the fewest traffic-related fatalities in any six-month period ever measured in America’s most populated city, officials say.
“The last time city streets were this safe, people were getting around in a horse and buggy,” New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said earlier this year.
Vision Zero’s goal is to reframe how cities look at traffic fatalities — not as “accidents” but preventable incidents that can be addressed through a combined approach involving road design, public outreach and increased enforcement.
The term was coined in Sweden in the 1990s, and tailored programs have been rolled out by multiple cities in Europe, as well as more than 30 cities across the U.S. Variations of the program have been adopted in a handful of Canadian cities, including in Toronto, Hamilton, Edmonton, Montreal and Vancouver.
While the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says traffic fatalities have increased across much of the U.S., New York is bucking that trend.
De Blasio, who campaigned heavily on the program in 2013 and during his re-election bid last year, plans to spend $1.6 billion US by 2022 to make the city’s roads safer.
City officials caution there’s no one solution — and like anywhere, New York’s bike lanes and the slowing of traffic have come up against stiff opposition. So while Vision Zero remains controversial, New York’s transportation officials and safety advocates say the experience of the largest U.S. city offers a road map for others.
Here’s a look at five areas where Vision Zero is working in New York City.
In the 1990s, Queens Boulevard was known as the “Boulevard of Death,” a morbid nickname that reflected the carnage that was commonplace on the main thoroughfare that runs through the city’s borough of Queens. According to the New York Times, a total of 186 people were killed or seriously hurt on Queens Boulevard since 1990.
In 2015, a large stretch of the road was redesigned; Queens Boulevard underwent what’s called a road diet.
Two lanes of traffic were removed from the 12-lane roadway to make room for buses and bike lanes. To slow traffic down, the speed limit was reduced and lanes narrowed.
Crosswalks were installed and medians were widened to give pedestrians more space and to shorten the distance they had to cross. Crossing signals were also tweaked, giving pedestrians more time. Protected bike lanes were installed along the centre medians, away from the parked cars and bus lanes.
Since the changes, the number of deaths along the redesigned stretch of Queens Boulevard has gone down to zero.
“If we could bring [Queens Boulevard] from the ‘Boulevard of Death’ to a place where people want to walk and want to bike, then really nothing is impossible,” said Julia Kite, with New York’s Department of Transportation.
Giving pedestrians a head start of a few seconds — known as leading pedestrian intervals — is one way of engineering safety, she said. Research shows that this step, which was recently adopted at a dozen intersections in Toronto, reduces crashes by 60 per cent.
“There’s no reason to accept that it’s just … the status quo, the fact that people are going to get hit or killed or injured in traffic,” Kite said. “It’s a way of realizing that we can engineer out of consequences of human error.”
The number of cyclists in New York City has dramatically increased in recent years — and the city has been working to make space for them.
Citi Bike, the city’s bike-sharing program, has 12,000 bikes at more than 750 stations around the city, and more than 143,000 annual members. New York also has 738 kilometres of protected bike lanes, with close to 100 kilometres being built since Vision Zero started.
“I think that things have improved tremendously in this city. I would not have imagined all these bike lanes every place — protected bike planes to ride in. We’ve come a long way,” said Eben Weiss, the writer behind the blog Bike Snob NYC.
New York is no different from any other city when it comes to drivers, cyclists and pedestrians arguing about who owns the road, he said. Yet despite its recent successes, Weiss says the city still has a long way to go to bring cyclists up to an equal footing with cars.
“These bike lanes are tiny slivers in a city that is just criss-crossed with highways, parking garages, everything.… It’s so skewed [toward drivers],” he said. “We are taking something massively skewed and making it a hair less so.”
According to New York officials, simply redesigning roads won’t achieve results without traffic enforcement to back it up. Under Vision Zero, the city has increased the number of traffic tickets issued for offences such as distracted driving, speeding or failing to yield to pedestrians by nearly 40 per cent.
“While we can never completely eliminate people making mistakes, we can make sure that those mistakes don’t have catastrophic consequences,” said Kite. “We’re taking a combination of engineering enforcement and education to make sure that this reaches all New Yorkers.”
New York strategically increased enforcement on six traffic violations it identified as being the most likely to kill or injure, including:
- Failing to yield to a pedestrian.
- Failing to stop on a signal.
- Improper turns.
- Cellphone use.
- Disobeying signs.
Between 2013 and 2017, the number of summonses issued for these offences increased by 41 per cent.
While traffic enforcement can sometimes be viewed as arbitrary or a money grab, the numbers may tell a different story. Toronto, for example, is seeing an opposite trend. CBC News looked at the number of traffic tickets issued for similar offences to those identified as key to safety by New York City.
According to numbers from the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General, the number of traffic charges laid in Toronto between 2008 and 2017 decreased by 45 per cent. During that same period, Toronto police report the total number of traffic fatalities in the city increased by 16 per cent. Pedestrians deaths alone increased by 37.9 per cent.
This year is shaping up to be even deadlier, with 20 pedestrians and three cyclists killed so far, according to Toronto police.
Controlling speed has been a major — and controversial — part of New York’s Vision Zero program.
In June 2014, New York installed cameras in 140 school zones to serve as a deterrent to speeding. In the program’s first two years, the number of speeding violations issued in the camera zones decreased by 63 per cent, injuries were down 17 per cent and fatalities were down 55 per cent.
“The evidence shows that even the difference between being hit at 30 miles per hour (48 km/h) versus being hit at 25 miles per hour (40 km/h) makes a tremendous difference in pedestrian odds of surviving,” Kite said.
But the cameras went dark last month, the victim of a battle between state and municipal governments. The temporary law authorizing the cameras expired as state legislators argued about next steps, ultimately ending their session without issuing an extension — even as city officials touted the success of the cameras.
North of the border, some Canadian cities are starting to drop speed limits, too.
In Montreal, for example, the maximum speed on some major arteries has been dropped to 40 km/h and 30 km/h in some school zones. But some residents say speeding remains an issue and enforcement needs to be increased.
Implementing Vision Zero hasn’t been easy. The difference in New York has been political will.
In July, after a months-long debate over protected bike lanes in one Queens neighbourhood, where the community voted heavily against them, the mayor overruled that decision and went ahead with the plan anyway.
“We think safety has to be a priority; we can never sacrifice safety for convenience or anything like that,” said Kite.
And there are lessons for other cities struggling to make Vision Zero a reality, she says: Have a lot of tools ready and realize that no one solution or template will work everywhere.
“It’s got to be a combination of things,” she said. “You’ve got to have a really strong team always looking at what’s going on, looking at the data, and making sure what you’re doing is grounded in evidence.
“And [then] combining different strategies into this one picture of safety.”
Full article with before/after photos
Video shows drivers ignoring Vancouver stop signs
Several Vancouver drivers and cyclists have been caught on camera rolling through stop signs, even when the signs are clearly visible from the road.
At National Avenue and Quebec Street, footage shows drivers slowing down then rolling through, while others appear to speed up, not even checking the cross street to make sure it’s safe. In one clip, a pedestrian is waiting to cross the street when a car goes by without stopping.
CTV News went to Clark Drive and Adanac Street in Vancouver Tuesday and witnessed bikes zooming past the sign. Those approaching from one direction have a stop sign, while cars going the other way only need to stop when the pedestrian-controlled crossing light is activated.
But ICBC’s Joanna Linsangan says regardless of intersection layout, the rules do not change. “A stop sign is a stop sign, and there really are no exceptions. When you see a stop sign, you must stop,” Linsangan said after viewing CTV’s videos.
“Drivers out there know full well what the rules are, but they somehow seem to rationalize bad driving behaviour.” When they break the rules, not only are they putting themselves at risk, but they’re also putting their passengers and others out on the road in danger, she said.
According to ICBC, about one-third of all crashes happen at intersections. That number jumps to 75 % when looking at crashes specifically involving pedestrians. Insurance claims increase premiums, so the risky habit of rolling through stops comes with a price even for those who obey.
Last week, the province’s auto insurer revealed collisions are at an all-time high in B.C. Statistics released July 17 showed approximately 350,000 crashes were reported in 2017, or about 960 each day and 40 each hour. The numbers represent a 25 per cent increase from 2014. The total cost of claims last year was $4.8 billion, or $13 million a day.
“There are a number of reasons why crashes have gone on the rise, but a reason that we are looking at is driving behaviour – people who simply flout the rules of the road, people who fly through stop signs, people who roll through stops, people who consider making a left-hand turn when it’s clearly a red light,” Linsangan said.
Vancouver police have already handed out more than 400 tickets this year for disobeying a stop sign, each with a fine of $167. VPD Const. Jason Doucette said those who go straight through stop signs without slowing down are considered to be driving dangerously. “If they come in contact with a pedestrian or a cyclist or another vehicle, there’s no turning back,” he said. He said those walking or biking can be unpredictable, especially when it comes to their pace, and stop signs and red lights are there to keep everyone safe.
Full article and media clip