Ontario Hospital Association
200 Front Street West, Suite 2800
Toronto, Ontario, M5V 3L1
Tel: (416) 205-1345 Fax: (416) 205-1360
Visit our Web Site: http://www.oha.com
December 6, 2011
During National Safe Driving Week, Ontario drivers should take precautions to reduce
preventable crashes and help save lives
Toronto, ON – It’s National Safe Driving Week in Canada (December 1 – 7, 2011), and during this time, health care and safety advocates are encouraging Ontario drivers to properly and diligently prepare for winter driving to reduce the risk of motor vehicle crashes.
"Each year, following the first snowfall, hospitals are occupied with the hundreds of small and large crashes that occur on Ontario’s roads and highways leading to human suffering and additional costs that the health care system can’t afford to bear. The Ontario Hospital Association (OHA) supports this campaign in order to encourage drivers to take the necessary precautions to prepare themselves and their vehicle for winter driving and alleviate some pressure on the system," said OHA President and CEO Tom Closson. “These unnecessary crashes can create longer emergency wait times, fewer available hospital beds for patients and added strain on the system, doctors, nurses and health care professionals, not to mention hardships and pain for patients and their families.”
According to the Canadian Institute of Health Information (CIHI), motor vehicle collisions represent 41 percent of major injuries in Canada and 52% of major injuries in Canada for patients younger than 20.
“Each winter, we see the devastating effects of motor vehicle collisions that lead to injuries and fatalities involving our families, friends and neighbours. Any precaution that we can take to help prevent long-lasting brain or spinal cord injuries or any other life altering injury is something that I highly encourage,” said Malcolm Moffat, President and CEO of St. John’s Rehab Hospital and Chair of the Toronto Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) Network. New technologies in health care mean that increasing numbers of people are surviving but subsequently require longer term rehabilitation and other supportive care measures to sustain independent living. The Toronto ABI Network is supportive of this coalition and the work they are undertaking to help keep roads and drivers safe, while ensuring the highest level of health care accessibility for all patients.”
“We want to remind drivers to prepare for the winter conditions: ice, snow and cold weather,” says Brian Patterson, President and CEO of the Ontario Safety League. “Equipping your vehicle with four matching winter tires, planning ahead and ensuring batteries and wipers are in good condition are some of the most important steps a driver can take to improve their safety on the roads in the winter.”
Although motor vehicle crashes are a serious problem at all times of the year, a significant number of crashes occur during the winter months. One Canadian-based auto insurance company has indicated that their Ontario based auto claims increased by 49 percent last winter compared to other times of the year.
“Every year, as a physician, I see the effects of catastrophic motor vehicle crashes,” says Dr. Mark Bayley, Medical Director, Neuro Rehabilitation Program, Toronto Rehabilitation Institute and Associate Professor, University of Toronto. “Strategies such as using winter tires can help to prevent motor vehicle crashes and save precious health care resources, and lost employment income.”
A coalition of organizations promoting road safety, including the Ontario Safety League, the Ontario Hospital Association (OHA), Canadian Tire, the Rubber Association of Canada, and CAA South Central Ontario, is encouraging drivers to take precautions to reduce preventable crashes and save lives.
Drivers can take the following steps to reduce the chances of a crash this winter by:
- Install four matching winter tires
- Get your battery, ignition system, lights and brakes tested
- Ensure your wipers are in good working condition
- Pack an emergency kit and winter windshield washer fluid
- Practice winter driving techniques before you need them
- Check your tire pressure monthly
- Plan your trips ahead of time
About the OHA: The Ontario Hospital Association (OHA) is the voice of Ontario’s public hospitals. Founded in 1924, the OHA uses advocacy, education and partnerships to build a strong, innovative and sustainable health care system for all Ontarians.
For further information:
Alessandra Nigro, OHA Public Affairs