Advanced Driver Assistance Systems: Canada is Lagging Behind
MONTREAL, Jan. 22, 2020 /CNW Telbec/ - While many road safety measures have been implemented over the years, there are still 167 000 Canadians who will either die or suffer from serious injuries this year1. However, these tragic consequences that decimate families and leave people deeply traumatized could be reduced with the help of new technology.
Modern safety features such as Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) are evolving fast and are already available to substantially reduce the death toll on our roads and help Canada attain its objective: making our roads the safest in the world. Ottawa has to consider the benefits of ADAS if it truly wishes to start taking road safety seriously.
According to Belron Canada in its recent white paper The Hidden Link Between Windshields and Road Safety, 94% of car accidents are attributed to driving mistakes; most of which ADAS would help prevent if this technology was fully deployed. In fact, fully automated vehicles and those equipped with ADAS could together reduce up to 80% of car collisions and deaths due to car accidents2.
"With a new Parliament in Ottawa, we need to act now to improve our road safety record," said Sylvie Leduc, Vice-President Brand & Customer Promise at Belron Canada. "The Towards zero vision which was set in 2001 will never become reality if Ottawa does not tap into the numerous advantages of ADAS and safety catalysts. New vehicles simply need to be more technological, but that same technology needs to be properly maintained and calibrated," Mrs. Leduc declared.
No Regulatory Framework
The Standing Senate Committee on Transports and Communications in their report Driving Change: The Technology and the Future of the Automated Vehicle agrees: these types of vehicles could in fact nearly prevent all deaths or injuries related to road traffic if at least 75% of car users were to adopt these vehicles. Yet, we lag behind. 30% of United Kingdom's car fleet was equipped with ADAS in 2018; by the end of 2020, only 20% of Canada's car fleet will be so3.
While vouching for the benefits of these technologies, the senatorial committee has rung the alarm bell: Ottawa is far from being adequately equipped in terms of legislation to ensure a proper regulatory framework regarding ADAS. Even more frightening, the constant proportion increase of vehicles equipped with ADAS on our roads stresses once again the necessity for enacting more binding regulations.
Not only is there no obligation prescribing the use of these safety features as is the case for seat belts and air bags, but there is also no framework regulating the maintenance of such safety systems. For instance, the forward-facing digital camera that is essential to certain types of ADAS has to be calibrated properly before being used if the windshield has been either repaired or changed. If no or improper maintenance is being done on the digital camera, consequences could go from deactivation to improper functioning that would cause the very consequences it was meant to mitigate.
Canada's vehicle fleet equipped with the forward-facing digital camera is already 21%. Yet, the federal government hasn't put together a comprehensive regulatory framework overseeing the use of ADAS modern safety features4.
Ottawa should apply the recommendations of the Standing Senate Committee on Transports and Communications and follow the European example. As of 2022, all new cars in Europe shall be equipped with advanced safety systems such as lane-keeping assistance and emergency braking, which are already mandatory features on buses and trucks as of today.5
Time is of the essence. It is time to include more technology with the right maintenance regulations. Not only will it tackle the human cost related to road traffic, but also its inherent economic costs. Per year, the road safety record's estimated total cost is $37 billion, or 2.2% of Canada's total GDP6.
About Belron Canada
Belron Canada is the Canadian division of Belron International, a company that offers unique knowhow, strict safety standards, personalized service, avant-garde technologies and a complete training program that make it an uncontested leader in automotive glass repair and replacement. With a network of more than 325 service centres, 30 distribution/warehouse centres and over 1,300 employees in 10 provinces, Belron Canada guarantees its customers local service. Belron Canada stands out for its Canada-wide presence, including the Speedy Glass, Lebeau Vitres d'auto, DURO, Apple Auto Glass, Standard Auto Glass and Broco Auto Glass banners. Learn more at www.belroncanada.com/
If we consider only the blind spot monitoring system, which was the smallest by all measures put in place regarding its contribution to crash reductions, the American Automobile Association estimates this system to have the potential to help prevent as many as 318 000 crashes annually. A combination of various ADAS would have an even greater impact on the country's road safety record7.
Improving the road safety record across Canada would have different consequences depending on the provinces to be considered. In fact, when it comes to insurance claims, in British Columbia, in Saskatchewan and in Manitoba, both property damage and personal injuries are covered by the government. In Quebec, it is a mixed system where the government takes responsibility for the personal injuries and the private sector deals with the property damage. In all other provinces, the private sector deals with all types of damage.