About TIRF

The Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF) develops and shares the knowledge that saves—preventing injuries and loss of life on the roads, reducing related social, health and insurance costs, and safeguarding productivity. TIRF is the Canadian source for international research related to the human causes and effects of road crashes, providing objective and scientific information to support the development, implementation, and evaluation of road safety programs, effective advocacy, and consultation.

TIRF is Canada’s road safety research institute. It is a world leader in research, program and policy development, evaluation, and knowledge transfer. TIRF focuses on the people that use our roads and behaviours that result in driver error and account for more than 90% of road crashes. Established as a registered charity, TIRF is an independent road safety research institute governed by a Board of Directors representing the public and private sectors in Canada. TIRF is funded by grants and contracts that are earmarked for specific projects, and sustaining donations to provide services to public and private sectors.

The TIRF team includes leading research scientists, support staff, and administrative personnel. TIRF also has strategic partnerships with international research agencies that greatly expand its scientific and technical expertise.

For Government
TIRF provides evidence-based knowledge that leads to smarter policies in preventing injuries and loss of life on roads and highways worldwide.

For Industry
TIRF is your partner in increasing your knowledge capital for safer, more efficient, and trustworthy road safety logistics, technology, and products.

For the Public
TIRF is the centre for road safety knowledge to help you and your family be aware of what you need to do to have peace of mind on the road.

For NGOs
TIRF is an independent, objective, and credible source that provides the science required for effective traffic safety advocacy.

Areas of expertise

TIRF research places a special emphasis on impaired drivers, young drivers, and distraction-related issues which account for a substantial number of road crashes, fatalities and injuries. Its work in these areas has received international acclaim.

TIRF maintains several extensive databases, including the National Database on Persons Fatally Injured in Motor Vehicle Crashes (funded by State Farm® Canada and Public Health Agency of Canada), and possesses a contemporary specialized library on road safety with access to resources in other jurisdictions.

Impaired drivers

TIRF’s research has helped to identify the persistent drunk driver and understand their role in alcohol-related fatalities and injuries. TIRF conducted a comprehensive review of the criminal justice system to identify ways that persistent drunk drivers “slip through the cracks” and focused national attention on the need to streamline and simplify the system and provide practitioners with the skills, tools, and resources to address these challenges. TIRF has also examined and evaluated a range of interventions for dealing with impaired drivers, and worked extensively with policymakers and practitioners to develop effective legislation, programs and policies. Notably, TIRF chairs the DWI Working Group which is a prestigious coalition of senior leaders of organizations representing frontline professionals in all segments of the criminal DWI system. During its ten-year tenure, this distinguished consortium has shaped the focus on and development of drunk driving initiatives in the United States with its unique perspective on knowledge transfer of critical research findings, as well as the translation of legislation, policies, and programs into operational practices.

Young drivers

TIRF has been a leader in young driver issues for several decades. It understands the magnitude, characteristics, trends and solutions in this area, and the contributing role of priority factors that play a role in crashes, such as immaturity, inexperience, alcohol, drugs and fatigue. It has developed and evaluated a variety graduated driver licensing (GDL) and driver education standards and programs, and driver competency testing for both passenger vehicles and motorcycles. TIRF has also developed and maintains on its website a Young and Novice Driver Resource Center designed as a one-stop shop for parents, young/novice drivers, researchers, policy makers and practitioners. In 2013, TIRF developed a GDL Framework that integrated priority program features with the best evidence related to driver education, license-testing and in-vehicle technologies to create a continuum of safety for young drivers.

Distracted drivers

Distracted driving has emerged as one of the most prominent road safety concerns. In recent years, fatalities due to distraction have exceeded deaths due to impaired driving. TIRF has been actively addressing this problem for more than a decade. TIRF co-hosted the first International Conference on Distracted Driving in Canada in partnership with the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) in 2005, and co-hosted a second international conference in 2012. TIRF also partnered with Drop It And Drive (DIAD) in 2014 to conduct an environmental scan of initiatives to reduce distracted driving in Canada. It revealed that sectors are working to strengthen efforts using complementary approaches. Yet there is a gap in specific mechanisms to facilitate coordination across groups of stakeholders, and efficient exchange information and outcomes at the national level. In 2015, TIRF and DIAD formed the Canadian Coalition on Distracted Driving (CCDD) to develop a National Action Plan for Canada, to help improve communication, coordination, and develop practical tools to assist agencies. 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 the not-for-profit sector. Their expertise is varied, including road safety education and research, injury prevention and health care, policy, enforcement, as well as the insurance, automotive and trucking industries.

Other areas of expertise include:

Road users

  • bicyclists
  • children
  • commercial drivers
  • drivers of recreational vehicles
  • female drivers
  • high risk drivers
  • motorcyclists
  • occupants
  • pedestrians
  • senior drivers
  • young and novice drivers

Driver behaviours

  • aggressive driving
  • alcohol impaired driving
  • distracted driving
  • drug impaired driving
  • fatigued and drowsy driving
  • speeding

Countermeasures

  • driver licensing
  • driver education
  • driver improvement
  • alcohol interlocks and other safety technologies
  • general and specific deterrent strategies
  • public education and awareness strategies

About TIRF USA, Inc.

Having conducted research in several countries around the world, TIRF knows first-hand the importance of tailoring research, policies and programs to the specific local context and environment of road users. It equally recognizes that it is essential to have an intimate understanding of cultural and legal factors that shape decision-making and strategies to reduce road crashes.
In 2013, TIRF established a permanent presence in the United States to better meet the needs of the local funders, stakeholders, and partners. As a result, Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF) USA, Inc. was founded as a separate and independent 501(c)3 private charity. Visit http://www.tirf.us to learn more.