Over 5 million Canadians speed excessively: poll

    OTTAWA, Sept. 30 /CNW Telbec/ - A new poll by the Traffic Injury Research
Foundation (TIRF) has found that approximately 5.4 million Canadians admitted
to excessive speeding in 2007, which was defined as driving well over the
speed limit.
    "As speeding is a major contributor to motor vehicle crashes, this high
number of excessive speeders is of concern," says Ward Vanlaar, a research
scientist for TIRF.
    In 2006, approximately 3,800 people were either killed or seriously
injured on Canadian roads in collisions involving excessive speed. Studies
estimate that over 20 per cent of all traffic collisions involve excessive
speed or driving too fast for conditions.
    The poll also found that nearly 900,000 Canadian drivers admitted they
had to brake or steer to avoid a collision due to excessive speeding in the
past month, with a majority of these drivers having done so on multiple
    Even more troubling, most Canadians who admitted to speeding excessively
said they were very confident about maintaining control over their vehicle.
    "It's troubling to think that excessive speeders feel very confident
about maintaining control over their vehicle," says Vanlaar. "The higher a
driver's speed, the more distance they need to slow down and the more
difficult it becomes to steer safely." As a result, speeders are more likely
to lose control and sustain more serious injuries in a collision.
    Vanlaar notes that a slight increase in speed of one per cent can
actually increase fatality risk by some four to 12 percent. In addition,
excessive speeding reduces the effectiveness of air bags, seatbelts, and
roadside crash barriers.
    "Exceeding the speed limit doesn't increase your crash risk a little, it
increases it exponentially," says Vanlaar. "Slowing down can go a long way to
saving your life."
    Despite the number of Canadians who admit to speeding excessively, over
two thirds of the population view excessive speeding as a very important road
safety issue. Canadians were more concerned about excessive speeders than
drivers using cell phones, drowsy drivers, and distracted drivers.
    In addition, over 50 per cent of Canadians felt that more people are
speeding excessively today than five years ago. A further 80 per cent also
said they often see drivers exceed the speed limit.
    "It's somewhat ironic," says Vanlaar. "Canadians are concerned about
excessive speeding, they see it on our roads, and a majority of Canadians feel
excessive speeding is on the rise, yet a quarter of the population goes out
and speeds excessively anyway."
    The poll also examined Canadians' interest in measures that could be used
to prevent excessive speeding. Two thirds of Canadians wanted to see speeding
become a higher priority for enforcement efforts, while slightly over half of
Canadians felt that vehicles should be equipped with devices to prevent
excessive speeding. In addition, a further 45 per cent of Canadians wanted to
see penalties for speeding equal to those for drinking and driving.
    "It's encouraging to see that Canadians want something done about
excessive speeding, but what's often overlooked is what people can do
themselves," says Vanlaar. "Slow down and avoid becoming part of the problem."

    About the poll:

    Results of this poll appear in The Road Safety Monitor 2007: Excessive
Speeding, available at: www.trafficinjuryresearch.com.
    A total of 1,238 Canadians completed the poll. Results can be considered
accurate within plus or minus 2.8 per cent, 19 times out of 20.
    Financial support for this report and others in The Road Safety Monitor
series comes from Transport Canada, the Brewers Association of Canada, and
Toyota Canada Inc.

    About TIRF:

    Established in 1964, TIRF's mission is to reduce traffic-related deaths
and injuries. As a national, independent, charitable road safety institute -
TIRF designs, promotes, and implements effective programs and policies, based
on sound research. TIRF is a registered charity and depends on grants,
contracts, and donations to provide services for the public. More information
about TIRF can be found at: www.trafficinjuryresearch.com.

For further information:

For further information: Sara Oglestone, Manager, Marketing &
Communications, Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF), (613) 238-5235 ext.
304, sarao@trafficinjuryresearch.com, www.trafficinjuryresearch.com

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Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF)

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