Nearly all Canadians want safer roads, but fewer are willing to embrace proven measures to make that happen
This page was last reviewed on May 27, 2021
That’s a key finding from a national survey conducted by Ipsos for Parachute, Canada’s national charity dedicated to injury prevention, and supported by Desjardins as part of their joint commitment to Vision Zero road safety initiatives.
May 27, 2021 (Toronto, Ontario) – Nearly all Canadians agree that everyone must do their part to make the roads safe and 78 per cent agree that injuries from road crashes are preventable, according to a new Ipsos survey. However, fewer agree that there should be measures such as more traffic calming in their community and lower speed limits, suggesting there may be a gap between attitudes and action.
Key beliefs and attitudes revealed from those surveyed:
- Canadians support police enforcement and changes to urban road design to protect cyclists and pedestrians as ways to improve road safety in their community. When asked what measures they support, respondents’ top choices were arrests for impaired driving (58 per cent), police checks for impaired driving (52 per cent), separated bike lanes (48 per cent), arrests for distracted driving (44 per cent), marked pedestrian crossings (44 per cent) and advanced walk lights for pedestrians (42 per cent). Proven effective measures such as no right turns on red lights, raised intersections, roundabouts, reduced speed limits and automated speed enforcement received less support.
- Overall, the impact of speeding in road injuries and deaths is not recognized. Only 21 per cent see reduced speed limits in their community as a measure they would support to make streets safer. While Canadians agree that speeding is dangerous (63 per cent on highways, 84 per cent in school zones), they also indicate this is something they do. A majority of drivers polled say they’ve exceeded the speed limit on a highway in the past year, with more than one in ten indicating they do this frequently. Nearly half (48 per cent) of drivers report they’ve been ticketed for speeding. Passengers, however, are less blasé about the dangers of speed. As a passenger, a majority of Canadians say they’ve felt unsafe because of speed (54 per cent) or have in the past asked a driver to slow down (53 per cent).
- Top increased dangers on our roads are perceived to be pedestrians on cell phones (65 per cent), pedestrians texting (63 per cent), drivers impaired by cannabis (64 per cent) and driving aggressively or texting while driving (57 per cent). These beliefs may reflect both the increased use of mobile phones in our society and the legalization of cannabis in Canada.
- Canadians believe being in a car on our roads is relatively safe, but walking or cycling are not. Six in 10 say the roads are safe for drivers and passengers in vehicles, while fewer find the roads safe for pedestrians (34 per cent) or motorcyclists (24 per cent). Notably, only one in five say the roads are safe for cyclists.
“Close to eight of 10 Canadians in our survey understand that most collisions, and the injuries and fatalities they cause, are preventable,” says Pamela Fuselli, President and CEO of Parachute. “This is encouraging, and a key first step to support Vision Zero, whose goal is to eliminate serious injury and death on our roads. You do that by taking an approach that shares responsibilities among all those involved in the road system: politicians, planners, vehicle manufacturing companies and all road users alike. We need to critically analyze our road systems and apply system-wide design, practices and policies to lessen the severity of collisions and prevent serious injury and death on our roads.”
Partners of Parachute since 2008, Desjardins Insurance is a strong supporter of the Vision Zero mandate in order to help Canadians stay safe on our roads.
“One injury, one fatality is one too many and we need to do everything we can as a society to keep people safe and save lives on our roads,” says Valérie Lavoie, President and Chief Operating Officer, Desjardins General Insurance Group. “As Canada’s largest financial cooperative, we know the importance of taking a collaborative approach to addressing road safety. It’s why we’re strong supporters of Vision Zero and have been working closely with Parachute to help keep all road users safe.”
About the survey
Ipsos ran a 16-minute survey online via the Ipsos I-Say panel from April 23 to 27, 2021.
- The survey polled a sample of 1,000 Canadian residents, with a teen boost of 100 Canadians. It is nationally balanced across age, gender, region, and education. This is done to make sure the sample is representative not just of Canadian adults, but all Canadians of legal driving age. (16+).
- The precision of online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case the results are considered accurate to within +/- 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what the results would have been had all Canadian adults been surveyed. The credibility interval will be wider for subsets of the population.
Parachute is Canada’s national charity dedicated to reducing the devastating impact of preventable injuries. Injury is the No. 1 killer of Canadians aged 1 to 34, where on average one child dies every day due to injury. Through education and advocacy, Parachute is working to save lives and create a Canada free of serious injuries. For more information, visit us at parachute.ca and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.
About Desjardins Group
Desjardins Group is the leading co-operative financial group in Canada and the sixth largest in the world, with assets of $349.9 billion. It has been rated one of Canada’s Top 100 Employers by Mediacorp. To meet the diverse needs of its members and clients, Desjardins offers a full range of products and services to individuals and businesses through its extensive distribution network, online platforms and subsidiaries across Canada. Ranked among the World’s Strongest Banks according to The Banker magazine, Desjardins has one of the highest capital ratios and credit ratings in the industry.
About Vision Zero
Vision Zero is a multi-national traffic safety initiative, founded in Sweden in the late 1990s. It’s based on the philosophy that no one should be killed or seriously injured within the road transport system. Ultimately, the main goal of Vision Zero is to achieve zero fatalities or serious injuries on the road. In Canada, Parachute has taken the national lead to co-ordinate and share best practices among all the municipalities and communities seeking to improve road safety. On social media, we use the hashtag #ParachuteVZ to share information and encourage public support of Vision Zero.
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Vice President, Communications and Marketing, Parachute