The sleek, shiny trailer has been packed full of interactive displays and exhibits, and four Alberta student ambassadors have just graduated from injury-prevention boot camp. That means Insurance Bureau of Canada’s (IBC) Be Smart. Be Safe. tour is ready to hit the open road again this summer to show people how they can lead safer lives, protect their property and prepare for emergencies.
From June through August, the trailer will visit approximately 30 fairs and festivals. The tour will be stationed at the Ponoka Stampede June 25 to 30.
“IBC has a long history of working with governments and safety organizations to make our communities safer,” said Jim Rivait, vice-president for Alberta and the North. “From seat belt laws and graduated licensing to campaigns against drinking and driving, insurers have always been at the leading edge of injury prevention initiatives. Be Smart. Be Safe. is a natural evolution of that tradition.”
Most injuries, whether at home, work or play, are preventable. In addition, Alberta roads are the scene of approximately 400 fatalities and 27,000 injuries every year and driver errors are responsible for more than 90 per cent of collisions. “Those errors can be attributed to a number of contributing factors such as inexperience, driver fatigue, distractions, unexpected road hazards and weather conditions,” Rivait added.
To address this issue, IBC has upgraded its popular driving simulator – now known as DUMB Car 2.0 – to cover a broader range of road safety issues including distractions, driving in adverse weather conditions, avoiding road hazards and identifying the point-of-no-return at traffic lights. IBC has also included an eco driving segment to teach drivers how to improve fuel efficiency and reduce their carbon footprints.
“Last summer, I was one of about 4,000 Albertans who tried the DUMB Car and was impressed by how instantly it demonstrated the dangers of driving while distracted,” said Luke Ouellette, minister of transportation. “I’m sure this summer, the DUMB Car 2.0 simulator will be just as popular as last year’s version. We can all use a refresher course on safe driving and I urge everyone to try the upgrade and learn from the experience.”
Also new to the tour this year is the Hazard House, a three-dimensional, interactive simulator that teaches families about fire safety and injury prevention in every room of the house. Other popular displays include Safe Home Now!, which features a number of “What’s wrong with this picture?” scenarios to help children prevent common household injuries. Survivor 72 shows the public what items should be included in an emergency preparedness kit to enable them to survive the first 72 hours following a natural disaster. The Safety Quiz allows people to test their safety IQ in a number of categories – at home, at work, on the road and at play.
As part of its community outreach program, IBC has trained a team of Alberta university students to act as youth ambassadors this summer. From June to August, the students will talk to thousands of Albertans to deliver safety messages to help them lead safer lives and prepare for emergencies.