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National Action Plan outlines the road ahead in fight against distracted driving

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Ottawa and Guelph, Ontario, March 2, 2017 – Distracted driving deaths have surpassed impaired driving deaths according to the latest fatality data from several Canadian jurisdictions. Nationally, distraction accounted for an estimated 25 per cent of drivers killed in fatal crashes in 2013. This troubling trend has made distracted driving a top road safety priority for governments and organizations across the country.

While a wide range of initiatives have been pursued by concerned stakeholders to tackle this pressing problem, there is an urgent need for a coordinated and comprehensive blueprint to effectively address it. To help fill this gap, the Canadian Coalition on Distracted Driving (CCDD) was formed to develop a National Action Plan, which was published today.

The Plan contains 15 action items organized according to four priority areas: education and prevention, enforcement, data and research, and technology and industry. It was designed to inspire and engage agencies concerned about distracted driving and provide them with tools to help reverse this trend.

“The plan was designed to harness the collective knowledge and learning that has been gained by many organizations,” said Robyn Robertson, president and CEO of the Traffic Injury Research Foundation. “Transforming their experience into practical tools and resources that can be used by a much larger group of stakeholders can improve efficiency and affect outcomes on a larger scale.”

In developing the plan, the CCDD explored the diverse topics that play a role in distracted driving, including: driver behaviour, penalties, enforcement, education campaigns, devices and in-vehicle technologies, emergency medical care, auto insurance, the transportation industry and automated vehicles.

The components of the plan represent the most essential activities that can support the efforts of agencies with a vested interest in the issue, and help them meet their objectives more efficiently and effectively. In the coming months, the CCDD will produce the series of tools contained in the Plan, and convene discussions in key sectors to help agencies amplify efforts to reduce distracted driving.

An initiative of the Traffic Injury Research Foundation, Drop It And Drive and
The Co-operators, the CCDD is the first coalition of its kind in Canada. The multi-sectoral group includes members from various levels of government, enforcement, academia, health, industry and communities. Their expertise is varied, including road safety research, injury prevention and health care, policy, enforcement, education, as well as the insurance, automotive and trucking industries.

“As the insurer of more than a million vehicles throughout Canada, we see first-hand the toll of distracted driving and we are committed to taking action to address this problem,” said Rob Wesseling, president and CEO of The Co-operators. “That’s why we partnered with the Traffic Injury Research Foundation and worked as part of the CCDD to develop this set of practical recommendations to reduce the incidence of distracted driving and make our roads safer for everyone.”

The entire report is available at tirf.ca. To view the 15-point action plan, see the attached backgrounder.

About the Traffic Injury Research Foundation:
The mission of the Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF) is to reduce traffic-related deaths and injuries. TIRF is an independent, charitable road safety research institute. Since its inception in 1964, TIRF has become internationally recognized for its accomplishments in identifying the causes of road crashes and developing programs and policies to address them effectively.

About The Co-operators:
The Co-operators Group Limited is a Canadian co-operative with more than $44 billion in assets under administration. Through its group of companies it offers home, auto, life, group, travel, commercial and farm insurance, as well as investment products.

The Co-operators is well known for its community involvement and its commitment to sustainability. The Co-operators is listed among the Best Employers in Canada by Aon Hewitt; Corporate Knights’ Best 50 Corporate Citizens in Canada; and the Top 50 Socially Responsible Corporations in Canada by Sustainalytics and Maclean’s magazine. For more information visit www.cooperators.ca.

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For further information, please contact:

Leonard Sharman
The Co-operators
519-767-3937

Robyn Robertson
Traffic Injury Research Foundation
613-238-5235 (office)
1-877-238-5235 (toll-free)
1-613-238-5292 (fax)