SGI is working to bring the issue of distracted driving further into the public eye.
Currently, the public auto insurer is running a number of advertising campaigns on a variety of platforms, which are aiming to make sure people stay off of their mobile devices while driving.
Tyler McMurchy, the manager of media relations for SGI, told paNOW one of the campaigns aims to get people to stay off social media while they are behind the wheel.
“It is running on YouTube, but it’s also running on Instagram and Facebook in promoted posts,” he said.
The videos show people writing messages on a social media platform before everything is disrupted as a result of a collision.
McMurchy said they are aiming the campaign at a wide audience.
“I know from talking to police officers that the people who are driving distracted is not limited to one particular demographic. It is a problem that kind of spans generations and spans demographics,” he said.
Along with social media there are campaigns airing on radio, which try to get people thinking about the problem at the source.
“We are trying to reach young people, we’re trying to reach old people, we’re trying to reach everybody in between,” he said.
According to SGI there are a number of cases where distracted drivers have caused a number of collisions with some being quite serious.
“In 2017 there were 6,399 collisions in which distracted driving was a factor,” McMurchy said.
These collisions saw over 900 people hurt and 26 people killed. McMurchy said along with making sure to get the message stepped enforcement is also important in terms of dealing with the issue.
“When you’re operating a motor vehicle you should just drive,” he said.
Also aimed at reducing the number of vehicle collisions this holiday season is Operation Red Nose, which is held in partnership with SGI.
The program is designed as an alternative means for drivers who feel they may be too inebriated to find a safe way home.
Randy Braaten, chair-person for Operation Red Nose in Prince Albert, said the campaign is in its ninth year in Prince Albert, and volunteers are needed to assist.
“It’s available for any person who feels that they aren’t capable of getting their own vehicle home during the holiday season,” Braaten said. “Our primary intent is to keep those people off of the roads.”
Drivers for Operation Red Nose do so on a volunteer basis. To register as a driver, a background check is required.
“We usually start running about 9 p.m. every night, and we run until about 3 a.m. the next morning. We run all through December and we actually run on New Year’s Eve, which is actually our busiest night,” Braaten said. “We want to encourage people who are out there to phone the service and we will get you and your vehicle home safe.”
A team of three volunteers co-ordinated through the local Lions Clubs in the Battlefords, Prince Albert and Saskatoon, the Queen City Kinsmen in Regina and the Kinsmen Club in Yorkton. The service will pick you up and drive you, in your own vehicle, to the destination of your choice.
A single volunteer drives your vehicle, while a second navigates and a third follows in an escort vehicle to pick up the two volunteers once they drop you off.
The service is totally free, however, donations are accepted.
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