Remember when you first learned to drive? It was a huge part of every person’s life. It meant freedom to come and go as you please. It even meant the chance of getting a job because the job required you to have a driver’s license. With this freedom came responsibility. Abuse of this responsibility means not just the loss of a license, it also could mean someone gets injured or killed because of your actions. Do you treat driving with the responsible actions it deserves?
Globally, the third Sunday in November is the National Day of Remembrance for Road Crash Victims. In Canada this year it’s done on Wednesday, November 23rd. This day was started in 1993 in the U.K. and by 2005, the United Nations decided to make this truly a world wide event. The idea was to make more people aware of the losses we have because of careless driving. An estimated 1,200,000 people are killed around the world every year in traffic crashes. This is why so many countries now participate in this special day of remembrance.
In Canada, there are over 2,000 traffic fatalities each year and almost 173,000 injuries from road crashes. This is tragic news, but there is good news. The numbers in Canada are dropping. In the past 20 years in Canada, the fatalities due to road crashes have dropped by 41% and the total injuries have dropped by 23% in that same timeframe. What has caused this decline? There are a few theories; safer vehicles, tougher laws, tougher standards to get a license and better driver training. Perhaps it’s a combination of all of them?
Is there anything that you, the general public can do to improve these statistics even more? Take driving seriously. Very seriously. Focus on driving as your main task when you’re behind the wheel. Leave your work troubles at work and your personal troubles at home. Remove the distractions from your vehicle. Take the responsibility that your passengers are relying on you to get them to their destination safely. Think about your actions as a driver and how they may affect other road users and your passengers. Expect the unexpected when you’re driving. Use logic and common sense when you’re behind the wheel and stop blaming others for what you may be involved in. Take ownership that you have the power to avoid crashes and to help keep pedestrians, cyclists and other motorists safe on the roads.
The National Day of Remembrance for Road Crash Victims allows everyone to honour those who were killed or injured by a motor vehicle and to also honour those whose friends or family were involved. However, don’t just take this one day to remember them. Remember them each time you drive. Make a difference now so that more people can be safer on the roads for years to come.