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No Accident

Eliminating Injury and Death on Canadian Roads


Publication Year: 2014

It is possible to eliminate death and serious injury from Canada’s roads. In other jurisdictions, the European Union, centres in the United States, and at least one automotive company aim to achieve comparable results as early as 2020. In Canada, though, citizens must turn their thinking on its head and make road safety a national priority.

Since the motor vehicle first went into mass production, the driver has taken most of the blame for its failures. In a world where each person’s safety is dependent on a system in which millions of drivers must drive perfectly over billions of hours behind the wheel, failure on a massive scale has been the result. When we neglect the central role of the motor vehicle as a dangerous consumer product, the result is one of the largest human-made means for physically assaulting human beings. It is time for Canadians to embrace internationally recognized ways of thinking and enter an era in which the motor vehicle by-product of human carnage is relegated to history.

No Accident examines problems related to road safety and makes recommendations for the way forward. Topics include types of drivers; human-related driving errors related to fatigue, speed, alcohol, and distraction and roads; pedestrians, cyclists, and public transit; road engineering; motor vehicle regulation; auto safety design; and collision-avoidance technologies such as radar and camera-based sensors on vehicles that prevent crashes. This multi-disciplinary study demystifies the world of road safety and provides a road map for the next twenty years. Includes a foreword by Ralph Nader.

Published by: Wilfrid Laurier University Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. v-vi

List of Illustrations

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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-x

No Accident: Eliminating Injury and Death on Canadian Roads addresses the carnage (28,000 Canadian lives lost in the past ten years and many more serious injuries) by a systemic analysis of the wide range of “causes of safety” that could be implemented or intensified. Indeed, Canada can advance lifesaving...


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pp. xi-xiv

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Author’s Note

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pp. xv-xvi

Most of the data used in this book is taken from police reports and hospital and trauma databases. Each of these databases has its limitations, and for the most part each under-represents the actual numbers of people killed and injured in motor vehicle crashes in Canada. In addition, police-reported...

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pp. 1-12

In 1913, the automobile began to be mass-produced on a moving conveyor by Henry Ford. Starting then, cars came off the assembly line and were sold in large numbers. With even more efficient assembly line production taking place over time, cars would be mass-produced at ever greater rates: by the...

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1. I Know Your Type

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pp. 13-48

While many of the ultimate solutions to the road safety problem come later in this book, this chapter and the one that follows are essential reading because they explore the role of the driver—the human part of the road travel system. This is important for two reasons: the first is that there are...

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2. The State of Affairs

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pp. 49-102

No matter what type of driver is behind the wheel, a safe road system will only exist if our roads are made up of drivers who are not impaired by alcohol, drugs, distraction, or fatigue. Safety can only result when all drivers and passengers are properly restrained, cyclists and motorcyclists have helmets...

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3. The Ethical City

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pp. 103-158

The city originally emerged, in part, as a safe haven to protect its inhabitants from enemies and external threats while making transport easier and more efficient. Much later, in medieval times, cities were still typically of a size that allowed people to walk from anywhere within them in a reasonable amount...

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4. The Finished Road

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pp. 159-176

In 1871, a man named J.M. Trout wrote that Canada in the 1500s was covered by primeval forest and that rivers and lakes formed its natural highways, with the birch bark canoe as the primary means of travel.1 On land, travel was by foot, beast, and sleigh. Roads were most easily traversed over the...

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5. Regulating One of the World’s Most Dangerous Consumer Products

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pp. 177-196

This chapter is the first of three to examine the role of the motor vehicle in a safe road travel system. This chapter will cover a brief history of the automobile, the importance of motor vehicle regulation, an overview and history of motor vehicle regulation, the context for vehicle safety rating programs, and...

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6. Vehicles That Protect People from Injuries

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pp. 197-234

This chapter explores the role of passive safety, or the many ways in which vehicle design can reduce injuries when crashes happen. Utilizing passive safety to its greatest possible extent requires a knowledge of what happens to people in crashes, and therefore involves an understanding of physics and...

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7. The Vehicle That Would Not Crash

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pp. 235-256

In 1865, the United Kingdom passed the Locomotive Act to limit the speed of “road locomotives,” or motor cars, to 2 mph in towns and 4 mph outside of them.1 The law required a person, often called a flagman, to walk 60 yards ahead of the vehicle and wave a red flag in the day, or a lantern in the night...

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8. The Silent War

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pp. 257-276

While Canada has largely accepted endless numbers of deaths and injuries on its roads, elected officials in many other countries have declared that the human trauma and economic waste associated with road crashes is avoidable and unacceptable, and have laid out great plans to systematically...


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pp. 277-334


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pp. 335-346

E-ISBN-13: 9781554589647
E-ISBN-10: 1554589649
Print-ISBN-13: 9781554589630

Page Count: 360
Illustrations: 31 b/w illus., 2 tables
Publication Year: 2014