TORONTO, Sept. 27, 2018 /CNW/ - Each year, almost 1,800 people are killed and 162,000 are injured on Canadian roads. In addition to the devastation this causes families, the annual cost to society is estimated to be $37 billion, according to Transport Canada.
Labatt Breweries of Canada, along with a range of community partners, is taking action in a bid to reduce these unacceptable losses.
Over the past two decades, the rate of impaired driving in Canada has fallen by 35.3% to an historical low of 188 incidents per 100,000 population in 2017, according to Statistics Canada. Primary reasons for this decline include the adoption of programs like Vision Zero and Canada's Road Safety Strategy 2025, and the success of efforts by a range of organizations and companies to make refraining from drinking and driving the social norm.
Labatt and its partners aim to continue to make progress on this issue while bringing similar effort and success to bear on other evolving road safety concerns through a new series of nationwide Road Safety Forums under the theme Road Safety: A Community Conversation.
The goals of the forums include increasing awareness of road safety issues, discussing how individuals and organizations can work together to shift social norms and create a community-based safety culture, and applying the lessons learned from the evolution of a zero-tolerance culture for drinking and driving to new road safety challenges, including drug-impaired driving and distracted driving.
The forums will involve a range of stakeholders, including universities, colleges, elected and other community officials, local hospitals, police, emergency services, and the Traffic Injury Research Foundation. They will be held in five major cities across Canada – Halifax, Montreal, Toronto, London and Edmonton.
The forums will also highlight the difference one second can make. In terms of road safety, even a momentary distraction can be devastating: one second can be the difference between life and death, or between a safe outcome and serious injury.
"It takes a whole community, including employers, non-profits, government, the news media and the general public, to effect real change," said Ward Vanlaar, chief operating officer of TIRF. "There must be zero tolerance for injuries and death on our roads."
The forums come at a crucial time, as communities face heightened concern about cyclist and pedestrian safety and plan for the forthcoming legalization of cannabis.
Labatt's Vice President, Legal and Corporate Affairs, Charlie Angelakos said, "In developing the concept for these forums, we are emphasizing that road safety issues have evolved over the past decade, and prevention strategies must adapt and keep pace with these changes. In a word, we can't keep doing the same thing if we want to make progress. It is critical to build on the knowledge and partnerships we have accumulated in order to tackle new facets of existing problems and apply the lessons we have learned to new issues."
The forums will promote discussion on what communities can do to build awareness and find solutions in four key areas of road safety: drinking and driving; distracted driving/texting and driving; impaired driving – the impact of recreational drugs; and pedestrian and cyclist safety.
In many cases, the statistics are eye-opening.
About Labatt Breweries of Canada
Labatt has long been a Canadian leader in the fight for moderation and against drinking and driving. Since 1929, when the company launched its Highway Courtesy and Roadside Assistance Program which provided aid to stranded motorists and at accident scenes, Labatt has also been committed to overall road safety. Programming, which often involves partnerships with police, municipalities and other community organizations, aims to advance efforts for safer roads and communities. This year, Labatt is extending its eight-year initiative of annual events that recognize and promote the need for safe roads to involve those who have the most to gain from continued progress - the community at large.
Established in 1847, Labatt Breweries is Canada's leading brewer and has more than 3,500 employees, six breweries, three stand-alone craft brewers, and a portfolio of 60 quality beers. As part of the Anheuser-Busch InBev family, Labatt is committed to Bring People Together for a Better World, making a positive contribution through multiple programs that support its communities, promote responsible drinking and protect the environment.
SOURCE Labatt Breweries of Canada
For further information: Tamar Nersesian, Labatt Breweries of Canada, [email protected], 416-361-5247