Canadian cooperative Desjardins has this week announced it is investing CAD 3.2 million to support leading non-profit organisations in Canada in their attempts to achieve the recently announced United Nations (UN) and World Health Organization (WHO) target of preventing at least 50% of road traffic deaths and injuries by 2030. Desjardins says its aim is to achieve this sustainable development goal over the next three years.
Approximately 1.3 million people die globally each year from road crashes and millions more suffer non-fatal injuries according to WHO*. More than half of all road traffic deaths are among vulnerable road users (ie, pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists). Therefore, the UN and WHO launched the Decade of Action for Road Safety and set their ambitious target.
Partnering towards a solution
In 2020, people aged between 1 and 44 accounted for over half (50.3%) of road related deaths and 58% of those seriously injured in motor vehicle collisions**. The economic burden of collision-related injuries and deaths in Canada is over CAD $3.6 billion a year, but the personal toll is immeasurable.
Desjardins is committed to reducing the preventable, and unnecessary, injuries and deaths that occur on Canadian roads. Through this investment, Desjardins will work closely with Parachute, Traffic Injury Research Foundation, and Arrive Alive to increase awareness, educate and develop solutions that can help save lives and prevent injury.
“This investment of CAD $3.2 million is the largest commitment we have made towards road safety. It is a concrete example of how Desjardins is directly supporting the wellbeing of its members, clients and communities,” said Guy Cormier, President and CEO of Desjardins Group. “We are proud to partner with these great organisations to support the Decade of Action for Road Safety.”
Working to keep Canadians safe
Whether it’s mitigating wildlife vehicle collisions or helping local communities adopt best practices for road safety, Desjardins has been working alongside its partners to keep Canadians safe for many years now. Additionally, Desjardins surveys thousands of drivers every year to better understand their opinions and behaviours; the results are shared to better inform Canadians of the risks of the road.
“We must act to keep Canadians safe on our roads; this investment is a testament to our commitment to supporting drivers and creating safer communities. We need to do everything we can to work with road users to adopt safer habits if we want to see real change on our roads. Because one injury, one death, is one too many. I am proud that Desjardins can be part of the solution,” said Valérie Lavoie, President and Chief Operating Officer of ICMIF member Desjardins General Insurance Group.
Additionally, Desjardins Insurance’s Ajusto programme has been encouraging safe drivers and rewarding them for making Canadian roads safer since 2013. The programme assesses behaviour (speed, rapid acceleration, sudden braking, distraction caused by cell phones) and driving habits (distance travelled, hours of travel and daily travel routine). All of these elements contribute to generating a score that helps to personalise the driver’s premium.
Currently, nearly 90% of clients who have signed up have seen a neutral or positive impact on their premiums. Desjardins will continue working with clients who have lower scores to help them achieve better results through alerts and advice via the app.
Pamela Fuselli, President and CEO of Parachute said: “We are delighted to continue our partnership with Desjardins in our mutual goal of zero serious injuries and deaths on our roads. While all road users play a part in safety, we also need to ensure these preventable injuries are made a priority within society and government – that means how roads are built, the kind of policy, laws and standards we enforce, as well as education and awareness.”
Robyn Robertson, President & CEO of the Traffic Injury Research Foundation said: “Most road crashes are entirely preventable, yet collisions remain a leading cause of death, particularly for young people. Communities are most affected and bear the greatest emotional, social and economic costs of crashes. In partnership with Desjardins, our Action2Zero learning centre helps communities build their expertise and capacity to tackle road safety priorities in their area.”
Pete Wytka, the Executive Director of Arrive Alive said: “For over a decade Desjardins Insurance has partnered with Arrive Alive DRIVE SOBER to raise awareness about the dangers of impaired driving. During this time, Arrive Alive has been able to create and distribute educational videos for high school students, public service announcements for television and radio, and informational pamphlets. These have all been shared with members of the public throughout Canada, and it would not be possible without the support we receive from key partners like Desjardins. We encourage drivers, passengers, and hosts to plan ahead, use safe and responsible modes of transportation, while also informing soon-to-be and young drivers of the costs and consequences of impaired driving.”
* World Health Organization. (2021, June 21). Road traffic injuries. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/road-traffic-injuries
** Transport Canada. (2022, February 2). Canadian Motor Vehicle Traffic Collision Statistics: 2020. Retrieved from https://tc.canada.ca/en/road-transportation/statistics-data/canadian-motor-vehicle-traffic-collision-statistics-2020