Electronic safety on board with Michael Schumacher and Jacques Villeneuve

CAA, FIA Foundation and the Government of Canada join forces with the pros to promote safer vehicles

MONTREAL, June 10 /CNW Telbec/ - The Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) and CAA-Québec, in partnership with the FIA Foundation for Automobile and Society and Transport Canada, held a live road safety demonstration today featuring seven-time Formula One Drivers' Champion Michael Schumacher and Canadian racing legend Jacques Villeneuve.

Schumacher and Villeneuve called on Canadians to think about safety technologies when they consider their next vehicle purchase. Systems such as electronic stability control already exist in some vehicles and can prevent accidents before they happen, but according to the two legendary drivers, these technologies should be more widely available and sought out by consumers.

"We know these technologies reduce the impact of injuries and save lives," Schumacher said. "Canadians should be aware of them, and make them a consideration when buying a new vehicle."

Paul Pelletier, president of CAA-Québec, an organization which champions road safety, agrees with Schumacher and Villeneuve.

"Safer drivers in safer cars, on well-built roads is what we call a winning combination to reduce the number of road collision victims," said Pelletier.

Four systems - Electronic Stability Control, Warning and Emergency Braking, Blind Spot Monitoring, and Lane Support - were demonstrated with the help of CAA-Québec expert drivers, at Transport Canada's Motor Vehicle Test Centre in Blainville, Québec. A fifth technology, Speed Alert, is widely available in Europe and will hopefully become an option on North American vehicles soon.

"As a race car driver, I know that any technological edge I can get is important," said Villeneuve. "The same is true when it comes to vehicle safety."

Rob Merrifield, Minister of State for Transport, was also present to underscore the Government of Canada's commitment to vehicle safety technologies.

"Road safety is a key priority for our Government and we applaud this opportunity to further educate Canadians about these new vehicle safety technologies," said Minister Merrifield. "Our Government supports these life-saving technologies and recognizes that vehicle safety technologies save lives."

Today's event, part of the run-up to Sunday's Montreal Grand Prix, allowed more than 150 guests and media representatives to hear experts' professional opinion while watching a live demonstration and trying out the technologies themselves.

About the technologies:

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Electronic Stability Control (ESC) helps you avoid a crash by significantly reducing the risk of your car going into a skid during a sudden emergency manoeuvre. ESC applies automatic braking to certain wheels and it may temporarily cut engine power to help a driver maintain control.

Blind Spot Monitoring helps you avoid a crash with a vehicle in another lane by continuously screening the blind spots on the sides of your vehicle.

Lane Support Systems monitor the position of your vehicle and can assist and warn you when you unintentionally leave your lane or when you change lanes suddenly.

Warning and Emergency Braking Systems detect the danger of your vehicle colliding with the vehicle in front of you. In the event of a potential collision, the systems warn you about the danger, and if you take no action, the technologies activate the brakes and can apply seatbelt pretension to avoid or mitigate the severity of a collision.

Speed Alert can help you avoid speeding by alerting you through an audio or visual warning that you've exceeded the posted speed limit. This technology is widely available in Europe, but is not yet available in North America.

For more information about the technologies, photos of the event, or to view or download videos of these technologies (including b-roll), please go to: www.caa.ca/esafety

About the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA)

CAA is a federation of nine automobile clubs serving more than 5.4 million members through 144 offices across Canada. CAA provides a wide range of member services and works to improve travelling and motoring conditions at home and around the world, including national advocacy efforts on both traffic safety and public policy issues that affect Canadian motorists.

www.caa.ca

About CAA-Québec:

CAA-Québec, a not-for-profit organization founded in 1904, provides automotive, travel, residential and financial services, benefits and privileges to its one million members.

www.caaquebec.com

About the FIA Foundation for the Automobile and Society:

The FIA Foundation is an independent UK registered charity which manages and supports an international program of activities promoting road safety, environmental protection, and sustainable mobility, as well as funding special motor sport safety research. www.fiafoundation.org

About Transport Canada:

Transport Canada is responsible for transportation policies and programs. It ensures that air, marine, road and rail transportation are safe, secure, efficient and environmentally responsible. Transport Canada reports to Parliament and Canadians through the minister of Transportation, Infrastructure and Communities. It works with its portfolio partners, other government departments and jurisdictions, and industry to ensure that all parts of Canada's transportation system work well. Transport Canada employs 4,700 people at its headquarters and in five regional offices across the country.

www.tc.gc.ca

SOURCE CAA-Quebec

For further information: For further information: Media Contacts: Dean Morin (English media), Communications Manager, Canadian Automobile Association (CAA), 613-247-0117 ext. 2026, 613-668-2163 (cell), dmorin@national.caa.ca; Lamia Charlebois (All media), Public relations consultant, 514-279-4601, 514-581-5831, lamiette@sympatico.ca; Brigitte Roussy (Québec media and French media), Public Relations Officer CAA-Québec, 514-861-7111 ext. 3210, broussy@caaquebec.com; Sophie Des Marais (All media), Public relations consultant, 514-234-4736, sophie.dm@sympatico.ca; Media Relations, Transport Canada, Ottawa, 613-993-0055

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