TORONTO, October 20, 2014 – This week, Canadians across the country are focused on the dangers of distracted driving as part of Parachute’s National Teen Driver Safety Week (#NTDSW). The public awareness campaign, featuring #PracticeSafeText, is aimed at reducing distracted, aggressive and impaired driving – the leading cause of preventable injury and death among teens.
In Canada, distracted driving contributes to more serious injuries than impaired driving or speeding. Almost 75 per cent of Canadians rate distracted driving as a very or extremely serious problem and consider texting while driving as the most important road safety issue compared to all other issues, including impaired driving. Research has also shown that a texting driver is 23 times more likely to crash than a non-texting driver.
Parachute, in collaboration with State Farm Canada and the federal and provincial governments, is taking action to raise the profile of road safety for teens.
“We need to take action now to stop distracted driving and keep teens safe behind the wheel,” says Louise Logan, Parachute’s President and CEO. “Teenagers, parents, corporations, governments, and community leaders are coming together during National Teen Driver Safety Week to help make our roads safer for all.”
“As both a mom and the Minister of Transport, safety is my top priority,” says Minister Raitt. “The reality is that Canadian teenagers on the road remain at a higher risk of death than all other age groups. However, in partnering with organizations like Parachute, I am confident that lives will be saved.”
“What makes teen driver fatalities so tragic is that the vast majority of them are completely preventable,” says Meg Field, whose brother, Josh, died five years ago as a result of distracted driving. “Through initiatives like National Teen Driver Safety Week, I hope young drivers will be inspired to drive safely, and be more aware of the devastating effects of distracted, aggressive and impaired driving.”
Throughout the week, teenagers, parents and opinion leaders from across Canada are participating in the National Teen Driver Safety Week activities, programs, and events.
“State Farm has a long history of promoting teen driver safety,” says Barbara Bellissimo, Senior Vice President and Chief Agent of State Farm Canada. “We look forward to working with Parachute and other organizations in establishing a National Teen Driver Safety Week in Canada and raising awareness about the serious issues facing teen drivers.”
In addition, many provincial governments are proclaiming this National Teen Driver Safety Week. Activities culminate on October 23 when teenagers from across the country, with The Hon. Lisa Raitt, Minister of Transport and Meg Field, will come together in a virtual classroom on teen driver safety.
Parachute is dedicated to preventing injuries and saving lives. A national charity, Parachute officially formed in July 2012, when the former Safe Communities Canada, Safe Kids Canada, SMARTRISK and ThinkFirst Canada joined together to become one leader in injury prevention. Parachute’s injury prevention solutions, knowledge mobilization, public policy, and social awareness efforts are designed to help keep Canadians safe. Parachute’s vision is an injury-free Canada with Canadians living long lives to the fullest. For information, visit us at parachutecanada.org, follow us on Twitter, and join us on Facebook.
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