Hands-on demonstration shows dangers of speeding, distracted driving
On Global Be(er) Responsible Day, reporters and cameramen could be seen careening around the Exhibition Grounds, on a specially-designed race course meant to illustrate the dangers of speeding and distracted driving.
Organizers say while a typical driver saves only two minutes a week by exceeding the speed limit, increasing one’s speed by just one per cent increases the risk of a fatal crash by up to 12 per cent.
At the road safety event, instructor Kevin Corrigan called out to drivers and told them each to drive at different speeds.
“The real fun you get out of it is when somebody understands what they’ve just done right,” Corrigan said.
“Like when we did the acceleration over there — one car runs at 40 km/h and one car runs at 60 km/h and they both brake at the same line, and then you realize that the car that was doing 60 is a car-and-a-half lengths ahead — then people get it.”
The Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF) says that while most drivers are concerned about speeding, seven out of 10 licensed drivers in Canada admit to driving over the speed limit.
“We think going 40 km/hr is pretty slow, and going an extra five, 10 or 20 km/h over the speed limit doesn’t make a difference. But it makes a huge difference in terms of stopping distance,” said Toronto Police Constable Giancarlo Marelli, who attended Friday’s event.
Beyond speed, what many road safety experts say they’re most concerned about is distracted driving.
“One in four fatal collisions involves distractions as a factor. So we often think of impaired driving as a top issue, but distracted driving is becoming our top issue,” said Robin Robertson, president of TIRF.
“And most concerning, in distracted driving collisions, it’s more often the non-distracted road user or driver that’s killed.”
Back on the course, Corrigan tried to show reporters just how dangerous distracted driving is.
At one particular turn he would say, “I want you to pay attention to the symbols on the truck.”
As the driver looked toward a truck on their left, the vast majority of drivers would not see a stop sign to their right, and drive right through it.
“It’s that one second. The difference of once second, and what that can make if you’re, you know, going the speed limit — 40 versus 60, whatever it is. The distance in stopping power can save a life,” said Kyle Norrington, president of Labatt Breweries, who provided the course.
Labatt will be holding three more Road Safety Forums in cities across Canada through the month of October.