Public Health Achievement #6: Motor-vehicle safety

March great public health achievement badgeWow, I totally thought I’d done an entry on the public health achievement in June, but when I just went to start my July entry – what with it being mid-July and all – I discovered that I did not, in fact, do one in June.  So here I am back-dating again!

The public health achievement being highlighted by the Canadian Public Health Association’s 100 year anniversary project for the month of June is: motor vehicle safety.

Some random interesting facts about motor vehicle safety:

  • 7 people die every day in Canada from car crashes. This is down from ~16 people per day in the mid-1970s, which has been attributed to things like safer vehicles (e.g., seat belts, airbags, anti-lock brakes), improved roadways (e.g., divided highways, rumble strips), increased traffic law enforcement, more awareness by the public, and better trauma medical treatment.
  • 1921 – “Driving while intoxicated” included in the Criminal Code of Canada.
  • In 1971, a law was introduced that required all new cars to have seat belts.
  • ~93% of Canadians wear their seat belts – though it boggles my mind why the other 7% don’t!
  • 1969 – law passed to make driving with a blood alcohol level of 0.08 mg/dL or more illegal.
  • Car seats reduce the risk of dying by 71% for kids younger than 1 year old.
  • Kids have to be in booster seats until they are 80 lbs or 9 years old now. When I was a kid, we were out of car seats from a pretty young age, and I don’t remember ever being in booster seats at all.
  • 2003 – Newfoundland and Labrador banned the use of handheld cell phones while driving, the first province to do so.  BC introduced a similar law this year.

Stuff You Can Do:

  • Wear your seat belt and use appropriate child restraint devices for kids.
  • Use transit, cabs, or designated driver’s if you are drinking.
  • Don’t use a handheld device while driving.

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