Award-winning Be Smart. Be Safe. Tour rolls into Leaside with safety messages
and donation to Flemingdon Food Bank

Entertainment, prizes and family fun highlight 2010 Be Smart. Be Safe. Tour

TORONTO, July 2 /CNW/ - Insurance Bureau of Canada's (IBC's) award-winning Be Smart. Be Safe. Tour made a stop at Leaside SmartCentre today as part of a community outreach program that is showing Ontarians how to lead safer lives and protect their property.

The star of the show is IBC's DUMB Car 2.0, a driving simulator which demonstrates the dangers of distracted driving including talking on a cellphone and text messaging. It also allows drivers to practice other skills, such as driving in adverse weather, avoiding road hazards and identifying the point-of-no-return at traffic lights. In addition, an eco-driving segment teaches drivers how to improve fuel efficiency and reduce their carbon footprints.

"IBC has a long history of working with governments and safety organizations to make Canadian communities safer. The Be Smart. Be Safe. Tour is a natural evolution of that tradition," said Heather Mack, IBC's Manager, Government Relations, Ontario.

Kathleen Wynne, MPP, Don Valley West and Ontario Minister of Transportation was one of many area residents who dropped by to try the DUMB Car.

"This amazing learning tool teaches us to think about our actions behind the wheel and graphically shows us the consequences of what could happen if we don't. The DUMB

Car helps to deliver our "eyes on the road, hands on the wheel" message to communities across the province," said Minister Wynne.

"We are proud to have been a leader in the fight against distracted driving, having launched our campaign back in 2007," said Mack. "Since then, the issue has really caught on, and we've seen many other campaigns launched, including those by Oprah Winfrey and the United Nations."

She added: "Here in Canada, most provinces have introduced legislation banning the use of hand-held cellphones or electronic devices while driving. But we want to remind drivers that 'hands-free' doesn't mean 'home free.' Research confirms that even when drivers talk on a cellphone using a hands-free device, they are still four times more likely to have a collision. And the problem is not just cellphones - there are a whole host of distractions vying for our attention behind the wheel."

At the event, Minister Wynne assisted IBC with a donation of $5,000 to Reverend Helena Houldcroft of the Flemingdon Food Bank. One of the largest food banks in the city, it serves 200 families a week.

The Be Smart. Be Safe. Tour also shows homeowners how to protect their property and make their homes more resilient to the increased severe weather that has become the norm. Tour displays highlight relatively easy techniques that Canadians can employ to protect their homes, including changing the grading around the house, or installing backflow valves in the basement.

Insurance Bureau of Canada is the national industry association representing Canada's private home, car and business insurers. Its member companies represent 90% of the property and casualty (P&C) insurance market in Canada. The P&C industry employs over 110,000 Canadians, pays more than $6 billion in taxes to the federal, provincial and municipal governments, and has a total premium base of $39 billion.

Note to editors: To view a short video on the Be Smart. Be Safe. Ontario Tour, click on the link below. This footage is provided for the free and unrestricted use of media outlets.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GyFv9T7OF0E

/NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: A photo accompanying this release is available at http://photos.newswire.ca. Images are free to accredited members of the media/

SOURCE Insurance Bureau of Canada

For further information: For further information: Ellen Woodger: 416-483-2358


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