Road crashes are the third-leading cause of death among young people in Canada. And drivers aged 16 to 24 who are killed in collisions are more likely to have been speeding at the time of the crash than any other age group.
From Oct. 18 to 23, Parachute Canada’s National Teen Driver Safety Week 2021 (NTDSW) wants to put a stop to these preventable deaths by raising awareness about teen speeding. This year, the campaign will also focus on the issues of drug-impaired, drunk, distracted and aggressive driving and rail safety.
“Teens need to know that speed is no game,” says Pamela Fuselli, President and CEO of Parachute. “Drivers who speed excessively are at higher risk for crashes and more severe injuries, and pedestrians struck by a driver at higher speeds are less likely to survive.”
Spreading the rail safety message to young drivers
When teens speed or drive impaired or distracted, they risk more than just their license or a hefty fine: it can cost them their lives, especially if tracks or trains are involved. In August 2018, Sandra LaRose’s 16-year-old daughter, Kailynn Bursic-Panchuk, died after her car was hit by a train in Weyburn, Saskatchewan. Kailynn had been using her phone’s GPS to navigate and didn’t see or hear the train coming. She had been driving for less than a year.
“Throughout National Teen Driver Safety Week, we want to drive home the message to young
people that an unsafe decision made in a split second can change their life—or end it,”
says Sarah Mayes, National Director of Operation Lifesaver Canada.
“Speeding or driving while distracted or impaired when approaching a crossing, or going around a lowered gate to try to beat an oncoming train, can have devastating consequences.”
Remember: trains can take up to two kilometres to come to a complete stop and, unlike cars, can’t swerve to avoid a collision. So, whether you’re a young driver yourself or have a young driver in your life, have a conversation about how to stay safe behind the wheel. Help Parachute Canada and Operation Lifesaver spread the message; join the conversation on social media using the hashtags #SpeedIsNoGame and #NTDSW2021.
You can find out more about National Teen Driver Safety Week 2021 here: https://parachute.ca/en/program/national-teen-driver-safety-week/