More than half of Canadians say that road safety should be among the top five priorities for government to address in their community
This page was last reviewed on March 29, 2023
That’s a key finding from a national survey conducted by Ipsos for Parachute, Canada’s national charity dedicated to injury prevention, and supported by Desjardins as part of their joint commitment to Vision Zero road safety initiatives.
March 29, 2023 (Toronto, Ontario) – As more Canadians are concerned about road safety, more also want to make it a key priority to address in their communities.
Since Parachute conducted a road safety survey in 2021, fewer Canadians (39 vs 46 per cent) believe our roads are safe, with 22 per cent – up seven per cent from 2021 – rating them “not safe.” The remainder (39 per cent in each survey period) ranked our roads “somewhat safe,” with 54 per cent ranking road safety as a top five priority to be addressed in their community.
One road safety measure above all others now receives more support in 2023 than in 2021: 28 per cent now agree with the statement “speed limits are too high and should be lowered” vs 22 per cent in 2021. In a ranking of effectiveness of strategies to improve road safety, reducing speed limits was the only strategy with increased support, up six percentage points from 46 to 52 per cent.
In 2023, the survey added questions about equity issues related to road safety. And while there is a strong agreement that roads should be shared by everyone, such as drivers, pedestrians, cyclists (64 per cent), only around one-third (36 per cent) of Canadians agree that roads in their community are well equipped to serve people who live with any type of disability. Moreover, few Canadians (36 per cent) recognize that marginalized communities, such as those with low socio-economic status, ethnic and visible minorities, have less access to safe roads than other groups.
The survey also reveals that more people believe driver behaviour change and law enforcement are more important to preventing injuries on our roads than changes in infrastructure. Two-thirds think that addressing driver behaviours would have a stronger positive impact on road safety to prevent collisions, injuries and deaths on roads than addressing road design. Four out of five top safety measures that respondents want to see implemented in their communities are about police checking and arresting for impaired driving, speeding and distracted driving.
That being said, when asked, unprompted, what would improve road safety in their communities, 28 per cent of respondents said road and infrastructure changes, up from 10 per cent in 2021 and the most common answer to this question.
“It’s encouraging to see growing public support to address serious injury and deaths on our roads, as well as for reduced speed limits, as an effective way to prevent crashes and reduce the harm that occurs when a vehicle driver hits a vulnerable road user such as a pedestrian or cyclist,” says Pamela Fuselli, President and CEO of Parachute. “While improved driver behaviour and law enforcement to curb dangerous behaviour are important, what’s critical and most effective is an approach that addresses how our vehicles, roads and communities are designed and built. For that to happen, we need governments at all levels to prioritize policies that support a Vision Zero approach of system-wide design and practices and fund the implementation of these policies, while ensuring equity for all neighbourhoods regardless of their socio-economic status, to lessen the severity of collisions and prevent serious injury and death.”
Over the past two years, there have some troubling attitude changes.
On a wide variety of measures, a growing minority agree with the following attitudes that negatively affect road safety:
- Driving fast is fun (25 per cent agree vs 22 per cent in 2021)
- Cyclists don’t belong on the road (32 per cent agree vs 30 per cent in 2021)
And fewer agree with these behaviours that positively affect road safety:
- It’s unacceptable to use hands-free phone while driving (78 per cent agree vs 84 per cent in 2021)
- Drivers should take extra precautions around cyclists (85 per cent agree vs 90 per cent in 2021)
For drivers, associations of texting, taking stimulants, aggressive driving and using cannabis as dangerous behaviour have softened since 2021. Each of these are still seen as dangerous by three-quarters or more.
Fewer Canadians feel that not using a seatbelt in the rear seat of a vehicle is dangerous (72 per cent) compared to not using a seatbelt in the front seat (83 per cent). In fact, more passengers say they haven’t used a seatbelt in the back seat (27 per cent) compared to the front seat (15 per cent).
Partners of Parachute since 2008, Desjardins Insurance is a strong supporter of the Vision Zero mandate in order to help Canadians stay safe on our roads.
“The need for preventative road safety solutions has never been more prevalent, almost daily, we are hearing of fatal collisions and risky driving behaviours,” says Valérie Lavoie, President and Chief Operating Officer, Desjardins General Insurance Group. “Road safety Is a shared responsibility, and we must hold ourselves and each other accountable. As a leading Insurer, we know the Importance of education and prevention to help reduce Injuries and fatalities on the road, which Is why we are strong supporters of Vision Zero and continue to work closely with Parachute to see positive change on the road.”
About the survey
These are findings from a 16-minute online survey that Ipsos conducted between February 10 to 17, 2023 on behalf of Parachute.
- The survey was conducted among 1,000 adult Canadian residents, with a teen boost of 101 Canadians between the ages of 16 and 17. Quotas and weighting, via age, gender and region were employed to ensure that the sample’s composition reflects that of the Canadian population according to census parameters [for all Canadians of legal driving age. (16+).]
- The precision of online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case the results are considered accurate to within +/- 3.4percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what the results would have been had all Canadian aged 16+ been surveyed. The credibility interval will be wider for subsets of the population. For more information on Ipsos’s use of credibility intervals, please visit the Ipsos website.
- All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.
Parachute is Canada’s national charity dedicated to reducing the devastating impact of preventable injuries. Injury is the No. 1 killer of Canadians aged 1 to 44 and the financial toll is staggering, with injury costing the Canadian economy $29.4 billion a year. Through education and advocacy, Parachute is working to save lives and create a Canada free of serious injuries. For more information, visit us at parachute.ca and follow us on on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.
About Desjardins Group
Desjardins Group is the largest cooperative financial group in North America and the fifth largest cooperative financial group in the world, with assets of $407.1 billion. It was named one of the World’s Top Female-Friendly Companies by Forbes magazine. To meet the diverse needs of its members and clients, Desjardins offers a full range of products and services to individuals and businesses through its extensive distribution network, online platforms, and subsidiaries across Canada. Ranked among the world’s strongest banks according to The Banker magazine, Desjardins has some of the highest capital ratios and credit ratings in the industry.
About Vision Zero
Vision Zero is a multi-national traffic safety initiative, founded in Sweden in the late 1990s. It’s based on the philosophy that no one should be killed or seriously injured within the road transport system. Ultimately, the main goal of Vision Zero is to achieve zero fatalities or serious injuries on the road. In Canada, Parachute has taken the national lead to co-ordinate and share best practices among all the municipalities and communities seeking to improve road safety. On social media, we use the hashtag #ParachuteVZ to share information and encourage public support of Vision Zero.
Ipsos is the world’s third largest market research company, present in 90 markets and employing more than 18,000 people. Our passionately curious research professionals, analysts and scientists have built unique multi-specialist capabilities that provide true understanding and powerful insights into the actions, opinions and motivations of citizens, consumers, patients, customers or employees. We serve more than 5000 clients across the world with 75 business solutions. Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos is listed on the Euronext Paris since July 1st, 1999. The company is part of the SBF 120 and the Mid-60 index and is eligible for the Deferred Settlement Service (SRD). ISIN code FR0000073298, Reuters ISOS.PA, Bloomberg IPS:FP www.ipsos.com
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