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One road death too many: Manitoba Public Insurance calls on all Manitobans to change how they think about road safety

Manitobans need to be less accepting towards road fatalities and more committed to driving motor vehicle-related deaths down to zero, says Manitoba Public Insurance.

In support of Manitoba’s provincial road safety action plan, the public auto insurer launched a new and innovative road safety awareness campaign before hundreds of students from Winnipeg’s Mennonite Brethren Collegiate Institute today.

Tagged Save the 100, the key objective of the campaign is to reduce tolerance/acceptance for traffic fatalities by asking Manitobans to look beyond the statistics and focus on the real people and real lives lost behind every fatality number reported. An equally important message is that every Manitoban has the power to bring the annual fatality count down to zero by changing how we think about road safety, the way we drive, and the decisions we make behind the wheel.

Save the 100 represents the average number of people killed on Manitoba roadways annually over the last decade.

“Virtually every week in this province there are reports of fatal motor vehicle collisions occurring on our roadways,” said Satvir Tkachuk, vice-president responsible for corporate communications, Manitoba Public Insurance. “As a result, many Manitobans have become desensitized to hearing about road deaths, particularly if there is no personal connection to the victim or victims.

“However, the reality is that every single person killed in a motor vehicle collision over the last decade had a personal connection to someone. Each and every one of their lives mattered,” said Tkachuk.

Save the 100 is a wake-up call to all Manitobans that people are losing their lives every single week on our roadways, and that behind each of those fatality numbers is a real person, a friend, a co-worker, and a loved one. And while getting to zero deaths on Manitoba roadways may seem like an unrealistic goal, the reality is that nearly all traffic fatalities are preventable, based on Manitoba Public Insurance data.

Primary contributing factors

In 2017, driver distraction was determined to be a factor in 41 per cent of all fatalities on public roadways in Manitoba. Impairment by drugs or alcohol and speed were also identified as contributing factors in nearly 32 per cent and 18 per cent of all fatalities recorded, respectively. Also concerning is the fact that 49 per cent of all fatally injured drivers and passengers were unbelted at the time of collision.

“These are the hard numbers that demonstrate most fatal motor vehicle collisions are fueled by dangerous, illegal or otherwise high-risk driving behaviour. It also tells us that most, if not all, of these collisions are preventable,” added Tkachuk.

Call to action

Save the 100 represents Manitoba Public Insurance’s newest ‘call to action’ and is about encouraging all road users to take personal responsibility for the decisions they make, how they drive, and how they interact with other vehicles, motorcyclists, cyclists and pedestrians on our roadways.

“Together we must create more of a culture of traffic safety in our province so we can ultimately keep each other and our communities safe,” said Tkachuk. “Doing so is the only way we will achieve the road safety goals established under The Road to Zero: Manitoba Road Safety Plan 2017-2020.”

Road to Zero

Last September, Manitoba’s Provincial Road Safety Committee released its road safety action plan. The Road to Zero: Manitoba Road Safety Plan 2017-2020 is the first plan of its kind in Manitoba, and provides a vision for Manitoba to have the safest roads in Canada. The plan adopts a safe systems approach to road safety in which road users, highway infrastructure, vehicle design and technology, legislation, enforcement, and health services all play a role in developing solutions to reduce or eliminate injury and death on our roadways.

Highlighted priorities from the plan include more coordinated research and planning between agencies within the safe system, early adoption of automated vehicle technology, improved safety for vulnerable road users through smart road design, evolving Manitoba’s traffic safety culture, reducing driver distraction and impairment, increasing awareness of medically at-risk drivers of all ages, and examining new speed management strategies to lower risk, among others.