The Community Against Preventable Injuries

The Community Against Preventable Injuries

June 24, 2009 09:00 ET

The Community Against Preventable Injuries: "Only Other Drivers Fall Asleep at the Wheel"

Driver fatigue is a cause of up to one in five motor vehicle crashes

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - June 24, 2009) - As British Columbians start planning their summer road trips, The Community Against Preventable Injuries (The Community) reminds British Columbians of the risks of driving when fatigued.

According to the Canadian Council of Motor Traffic Administrators, driver fatigue is a cause of up to one in five fatal crashes in British Columbia. Every year, more than 400 Canadians die and many more are injured because drivers take the wheel despite being drowsy or tired.

To help raise awareness about the dangers of driver fatigue on British Columbia's roads and highways, The Community has partnered with the national Highway Safety Roundtable and the BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation. Initiatives include education, advertising and public service announcements distributed to multiple radio stations throughout the province.

Motor vehicle crashes (MVCs) are one of the leading causes of preventable injuries. "Many British Columbians will hit the roads this summer never expecting to cause a crash," says Dr. Ian Pike, spokesperson for The Community. "But if they're driving when dead tired, then chances are they may crash. MVCs do happen -- they happen to us, our friends and our family. It's this kind of attitude that The Community and its partners want to change."

Police statistics show that in a given year, at least 29 people were killed and 890 people were injured in BC as a result of fatigue-related MVCs. Even more frightening are the number of people who admit to falling asleep behind the wheel. A poll conducted by the Canadian Traffic Injury Foundation found that during the last year, 20 per cent of Canadians admitted to dozing off while driving.

Fatigue can be caused by inadequate sleep, interrupted or fragmented sleep, or chronic sleep debt (lost hours of sleep that accumulate over time). Other factors contributing to driver fatigue include the amount of time spent on the road, time of day, undiagnosed sleep disorders, and the use of medications or alcohol.

"Being tired is one of the leading causes of crashes," says Allan Lamb, Executive Director of the BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation. "Like alcohol, driver fatigue slows reaction time, decreases awareness, impairs judgment and increases the risk of crashing."

"Drivers who are tired and then get behind the wheel are putting their lives and the lives of others at risk," says Pike. "Fatigue-related crashes don't have to happen. They are caused by us and they are entirely preventable!"

"The potential dangers associated with falling asleep behind the wheel seem obvious. Yet, many of us still hit the road when exhausted. The Community wants to remind British Columbians about the unnecessary risks we all take on a daily basis that often lead to a serious injury."

Though a grassroots initiative, The Community Against Preventable Injuries has become a province-wide, multi-partner organization designed to raise awareness, transform attitudes, and ultimately change behaviours. The goal of The Community and its partners is to significantly reduce the number and severity of preventable injuries in BC.

The Community's strategy is based on two years of extensive research to develop a comprehensive understanding of how and why preventable injuries occur throughout the Province. The Community's work is made possible through the financial and in-kind support of a variety of partner organizations that continue to sign on as The Community's partners to fight this epidemic of preventable injuries in BC.

For more information about fatigue impairment and how to avoid it, visit preventable.ca or fatigueimpairment.ca.

To join us in the cause against preventable injuries, visit www.preventable.ca.

For more information, story ideas and/or to set up media interviews with our experts, contact us via the contact information listed below.

Contact Information

  • Contemporary Communications
    Gina Vesnaver
    Media Contact
    Direct: 604.637.3041
    gvesnaver@ccpr.com
    or
    Contemporary Communications
    Dixon Tam
    Media Contact
    Direct: 604.637.3045
    dtam@ccpr.com