During National Safe Driving Week, Ontario drivers are encouraged to take precautions to reduce preventable crashes and save lives
TORONTO, Dec. 3 /CNW/ - National Safe Driving Week in Canada is upon us (December 1 - 7, 2010) and during this time, health care and safety advocates are encouraging Ontario drivers to properly and diligently prepare for winter driving to reduce the risk of motor vehicle crashes.
"Each year, thousands of people are involved in preventable winter driving crashes that lead to human suffering and additional costs that the health care system doesn't have to bear. The OHA welcomes any initiative that will help to prevent accidents and alleviate this pressure," said OHA President and CEO Tom Closson. "These unnecessary crashes can create longer emergency wait times, fewer available hospital beds for patients and added strain on the system, doctors, nurses and health care professionals, not to mention hardships and pain for patients and their families."
According to the Canadian Institute of Health Information (CIHI), motor vehicle crashes represent 50 percent of major injuries and are predicted to be the second leading cause of potential years of life lost and the third leading cause of disability-adjusted life years by 2020.
"Each winter, we see the devastating effects of motor vehicle collisions that lead to injuries and fatalities involving our families, friends and neighbours. Any precaution that we can take to help prevent long-lasting brain or spinal cord injuries or any other life altering injury is something that I highly encourage," said Malcolm Moffat, President and CEO of St. John's Rehab Hospital and Chair of the Toronto Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) Network. "New technologies in health care mean that increasing numbers of people are surviving but subsequently require longer term rehabilitation and other supportive care measures to sustain independent living. The Toronto ABI Network is supportive of this coalition and the work they are undertaking to help keep our roads and drivers safe, while ensuring the highest level of health care accessibility for all of our patients."
"Properly preparing yourself and your vehicle is the best way to prevent crashes," said Brian Patterson, President and CEO of the Ontario Safety League. "An ounce of prevention can lead to a pound of cure."
Although motor vehicle accidents are a serious problem at all times of year, a significant number of crashes occur during the winter months. One Canadian-based auto insurance company has indicated that their Ontario based auto claims increased by 43 percent last winter compared to other times of the year.
"Every year, as a physician, I see the effects of catastrophic motor vehicle accidents," says Dr. Mark Bayley, Medical Director, Neuro Rehabilitation Program, Toronto Rehabilitation Institute and Associate Professor, University of Toronto. "Strategies such as using winter tires can help to prevent motor vehicle accidents and save precious health care resources, and lost employment income."
A coalition of organizations promoting road safety, including the Ontario Safety League, the Ontario Hospital Association (OHA), the Ontario Trucking Association, Canadian Tire, the Rubber Association of Canada, and the CAA (South Central Ontario), is encouraging drivers to take precautions to reduce preventable crashes and save lives.
Drivers can take the following steps to reduce the chances of a crash this winter by:
- Ensuring vehicles are checked by a registered mechanic;
- Monitoring weather forecasts to avoid driving in bad weather;
- Outfitting vehicles with four matching winter tires;
- Ensuring a winter survival kit is in vehicles at all times; and
- Diving defensively by reducing speed and leaving more space between vehicles.
About the OHA: The Ontario Hospital Association (OHA) is the voice of Ontario's public hospitals. Founded in 1924, the OHA uses advocacy, education and partnerships to build a strong, innovative and sustainable health care system for all Ontarians.
For further information: For further information:
Alessandra Nigro, OHA Public Affairs