Canadian Coalition on Distracted Driving begins development of National Action Plan

OTTAWA, June 20, 2016 /CNW/ - The newly-created Canadian Coalition on Distracted Driving (CCDD) has wrapped up its first ever meeting, a two-day working session in Ottawa where it began work on creating a National Action Plan to combat distracted driving. An initiative of the Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF), Drop It And Drive and The Co-operators, the CCDD is the first coalition of its kind in Canada. The multi-sectoral group includes members from various levels of government, enforcement, academia, health, industry and communities. Their expertise is varied, including road safety research, injury prevention and health care, policy, enforcement, as well as the insurance, automotive and trucking industries.

At the meeting, a number of options were discussed and considered for possible inclusion in the National Action Plan. These included the identification of priority data and indicators that represent an important step forward in improving understanding of the issue. Other activities that received attention included an inventory of educational campaign materials and a resource centre to support agency efforts to raise awareness about the problem, particularly at a community level. The development of tools to inform industries about distracted driving's impacts and facilitate leadership in the development of distracted driving policies was also a top priority.

"As a member of the Canadian Coalition on Distracted Driving, the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario understands the importance of tackling this problem in our province and across the country.  Sharing strategies and data will assist us all in addressing this increasingly significant issue," said John Lefebvre, Manager, Special Projects, Safety Policy & Education Branch, Ministry of Transportation of Ontario.

As part of its Drive Out Distraction program, The Co-operators entered into a partnership with TIRF aimed at reducing the incidence of distracted driving in Canada. In December, they released Distracted Driving in Canada: Making Progress, Taking Action, which provides a snapshot of the many initiatives across the country to address the problem. The report identified the need for a national action plan and recommended the creation of a national working group. This led to the establishment of the CCDD, which plans to release a national action plan later this year.

Also, as part of this partnership, TIRF will create 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.

"The complexity of the distracted driving problem makes it a challenge to change behaviour, so it is critical that we invest time, energy and resources to develop an informed and evidence-based plan that is achievable, and that more importantly contributes to behaviour change," said Robyn Robertson, President & CEO of TIRF.  "The diversity of agencies that are participating in the Coalition speaks not only to the pervasiveness and seriousness of this issue, but also to their commitment to sharing expertise to find the most effective ways to keep Canadians safe."  

Distracted driving is widely considered a top priority by provincial and territorial governments and they, along with non-profits, researchers, industry and the media are engaged in activities designed to address the issue. However, there is currently no efficient means of exchanging information and outcomes at the national level, and coordination across the various groups of stakeholders is lacking. These are matters the national action plan will address.

"The Canadian Coalition on Distracted Driving brings together an impressive group of professionals who are committed to understanding the problem and taking action to reduce the number of unnecessary injuries and deaths on our roads," said Kathy Bardswick, president and CEO of The Co-operators. "What the national action plan will do is promote better information-sharing and coordination across jurisdictions and between stakeholders, to ultimately enhance the effectiveness of our collective efforts to combat this significant societal issue."

About the Traffic Injury Research Foundation:
The mission of the Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF) is to reduce traffic-related deaths and injuries. TIRF is an independent, charitable road safety research institute. Since its inception in 1964, TIRF has become internationally recognized for its accomplishments in identifying the causes of road crashes and developing programs and policies to address them effectively.

About Drop It And Drive:
Drop It And Drive (DIAD) is a national British Columbia-based organization that has presented its reality-based workshops to more than 50,000 students, faculty and workers in Canada and the United States since their launch in late 2010. Its mission is to prevent injuries and fatalities caused by distracted driving, distractions in the workplace and distracted walking. It actively promotes the need for societal change in order to effectively address road, pedestrian and workplace safety.

About The Co-operators:
The Co-operators Group Limited is a Canadian co-operative with more than $40 billion in assets under administration. Through its group of companies it offers home, auto, life, group, travel, commercial and farm insurance, as well as investment products.

The Co-operators is well known for its community involvement and its commitment to sustainability. The Co-operators is listed among the Best Employers in Canada by Aon Hewitt; Corporate Knights' Best 50 Corporate Citizens in Canada; and the Top 50 Socially Responsible Corporations in Canada by Sustainalytics and Maclean's magazine. For more information visit www.cooperators.ca.

SOURCE The Co-operators

Image with caption: "Canadian Coalition on Distracted Driving (CNW Group/The Co-operators)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20160620_C1113_PHOTO_EN_716901.jpg

For further information: Leonard Sharman, The Co-operators, 519-767-3937; Robyn Robertson, Traffic Injury Research Foundation, 1-877-238-5235


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