How the covid-19 pandemic affects road safety and driving habits across Nova Scotia?
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected people’s lives in more ways than one. You may have been directly impacted by the virus or you’re living in anticipation and anxiety as you watch lives dramatically changing in the past few months. When it comes to road safety, it’s a similar story. Things have changed and we need to acknowledge these shifts and understand how to keep ourselves safe while driving on Nova Scotia roads.
Reduced road transport
With travel bans imposed in many countries, fewer people are travelling. Reduced transport is an upside for road safety as it results in reduced exposure thereby minimizing the number of road crash deaths and disabling injuries. Reduced road transport also results in less greenhouse gas emissions and a reduction in air and noise pollution. In China alone, experts estimate that the reduction in road transport may have resulted in about 50,000-75,000 fewer premature deaths related to air pollution.
Reduction in public transportation
With many people staying indoors during COVID-19 times, there has been a reduction in the usage of public transport. People are now choosing to use their private cars instead of mass transit in order to reduce their risk of exposure to the virus. As governments are taking measures to restore safe public transport, people should also be encouraged to consider other means of transport like cycling and walking in order to minimize the impact of everyone having to use their own cars. A key concern is the health care workers who still need to use some form of transportation during the pandemic. Authorities in Nova Scotia are tasked to place policies that keep these vulnerable groups safe as they commute.
Road safety policies and enforcement has taken a back seat
Most governments are putting all their focus on addressing the effects of the pandemic in their countries. It’s no wonder many initiatives such as planned legislation and infrastructure implementation have been put on hold in the short-term. Regulations that the government was strict on, such as driver hours for truck drivers who are transporting critical medical supplies during the pandemic, have been relaxed. Since governments are paying less attention to critical road safety campaigns and advocacy, the fear is that things may go out of hand and we may just see the impact as soon as COVID is under control.
What will happen to road crash victims?
As more medics are focusing on responding to Covid-19 emergencies, what happens to road crash victims? There is an increased risk for victims of road accidents to not receive the kind of emergency services they need since most hospitals are overstretched. This is enough reason for motorists to drive safely, avoid alcohol while driving and use proper restraints. Amid the pandemic, it’s highly unlikely that governments will start implementing new legislation or initiatives to improve road safety. However, all road users have even more reason to protect themselves and others by following all road rules and practicing safe habits.
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