Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) have said that distracted driving is the “No. 1 killer on the roads.” According to The OPP’s 2013 Traffic Statistics 78 people died in crashes related to distracted driving on roads they patrolled in 2013, this compares with 57 deaths related to impaired driving and 44 related to speeding. They also noted that at least 30 to 50 percent of accidents across the province were caused by distracted driving.
Distracted Driving is a Canada-wide Reaches Epidemic Proportions
Ontario is not the only province grappling with how to stop people from using their handhelds while behind the wheel. Over the past few years provinces and territories across the country have continued increasing fines (up to $400 according to this map) in attempt to stop people from picking up their phones while driving –with very limited success. Now some experts are suggesting that distracted driving be made a criminal offense placing it on par with driving under the influence.
Distracted Driving Pushes Ministry of Transportation to Invest in Connected and Autonomous Vehicle Technology
Finally the province of Ontario is helping private businesses and academia look into more long term solutions, autonomous vehicle technologies – with a $1 million boost through The Connected Vehicle/ Autonomous Vehicle Research Program (CVAV). The program is being offered through Ontario Centres of Excellence on behalf of the province’s Ministry of Transportation and Ministry of Research and Innovation and offers funding to drive connected and autonomous vehicle technologies to the next level.
Backgrounder: Connected vs. Autonomous Vehicle Technology
There is a difference between connected vehicles and autonomous or “self-driving cars.” The former uses wireless technology to connect with other vehicles, transportation infrastructure and mobile devices to give motorists information with which to make driving safer. Autonomous vehicles rely on sensors and computer data to navigate without input from humans.
Connected Vehicle/ Autonomous Vehicle Research Program (CVAV) –Funding Details
Funding of up to $250,000 per project is available for research in one of the following areas:
- The development of products, services, and standards to reduce driver distraction
- Communication management
- Data management
- Connected vehicle technology
- Improving traffic management and operations
Note: OCE will utilize existing programs to deploy CVAV funding.
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