New partnership aims to reduce distracted driving in Canada

Research suggests that distracted driving is a substantial factor in road fatalities, and may be equal to or even exceed impaired driving in at least some jurisdictions in Canada. As part of its Drive out Distraction program, The Co-operators has announced a new partnership with the Canadian Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF) aimed at reducing the incidence of distracted driving in Canada. The announcement was made on November 18th, the National Day of Remembrance for Road Crash Victims.

TIRF is a national, independent road safety research institute that focuses on identifying the causes of road crashes and developing programs and policies to address them effectively. Through this partnership, The Co-operators will support TIRF’s research and educational work focused on reducing distracted driving. This will include the creation of a public online repository of data, information and resources that can serve as an easily accessible tool for stakeholders and others with an interest in the issue. In addition, a multi-stakeholder working group will be created, which will develop a national evidence-informed, comprehensive action plan to combat distracted driving in 2016.

“As an insurer of more than one million vehicles, we see first-hand the devastating effects of traffic injuries and fatalities on the lives of our clients,” said Kathy Bardswick, president and CEO of The Co-operators. “Distracted driving is a contributing factor in one of every four major injury crashes. We are determined to make a difference by working to change behaviour around distracted driving to make our roads and communities safer for everyone.”

In the coming weeks, as part of the partnership, an environmental scan report on efforts to combat distracted driving will be published. The research conducted by TIRF, in partnership with Drop It And Drive (D.I.A.D.) will track and benchmark legislative, policy, enforcement, educational and advocacy efforts in jurisdictions across Canada to establish a solid foundation on which future initiatives could be planned and coordinated across organizations.

“In the past decade, our understanding of distracted driving has grown immensely, and governments and agencies have responded and undertaken work on several fronts to implement a comprehensive approach to tackle it,” said Robyn Robertson, president and CEO of TIRF. “It’s equally important that we leverage the experiences and knowledge gained, not only strengthen programs and policies, but also to find better ways to coordinate the wide-ranging activities underway, and become more efficient as well as effective.”

The partnership with TIRF is part of the Drive out Distraction program, The Co-operators ongoing commitment to make Canadian roads safer. Earlier this year, the organization announced its support for OneTap, a breakthrough new smartphone app developed by AppColony that promotes distraction-free driving.

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