Discover Road and Vehicle Safety
Master Corporal Benoît Van Bael - Permit Clerk, Road Safety Investigator/Trainer, Resource Conservation – 2nd Canadian Division Support Group
Since starting to work for the Road and Vehicle Safety section at the Saint-Jean Garrison, I’ve come to realize the extent to which poorly driving a vehicle can result in visits to the emergency room or avoidable expenses. I’ve also noticed that the people we assist are unfamiliar with our services. Over the coming months, with a view to raising awareness about the mandate of the Road and Vehicle Safety section, we will be presenting a series of articles about the Road and Vehicle Safety Program. Our objective is to refresh your memory about certain points, make you aware of some of the problems and, above all, try to reduce accident statistics. We hope to get you all on board!
The Basic Principle : Compensation
Small children on bikes, pedestrians and car, bus and truck drivers: everyone is “covered” by the Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ). But, covered by what, exactly? Insurance! That’s right! Paid through your driver’s licence and vehicle registration. This insurance covers anyone who is injured, becomes disabled or, sadly, dies in a traffic accident, anywhere in the world, regardless of whether or not they were driving their own car.
Let’s focus in on Quebec. Supposing that, while driving your car, you have a minor fender-bender, but you’re not injured. That’s when the other big machine kicks in: your automobile insurance company, to whom you submit your claim. Depending on your contract, it might cost you nothing, or you might have to pay the out-of-pocket maximum known as the deductible. If you’re not responsible, an accident will cost you a grand total of . . . zero dollars!
Let’s change the picture a bit by adding some physical injuries. Your automobile insurance company will pay for repairs to your vehicle, and the SAAQ will provide compensation for your physical injuries, based on specific criteria and as long as an accident report has been filed with the police.
All of this to explain the principle of compensation: in the event of an accident, you are “covered” by your insurance, which pays for any material damage or bodily harm. But don’t forget: all accidents cost money.
At the Department of National Defence (DND), the insurer is the Government of Canada. Which means? Simply that it’s DND itself that “covers” the costs associated with collisions and other accidents, from its own funds. So, it’s you and I, the taxpayers, who pay the bill.
The role of Road and Vehicle Safety
The role of Road and Vehicle Safety is to help commanders minimize the risk of having to pay out large sums of money. We have introduced the following measures with a view to making each military driver’s licence holder a safer driver and hence one that is less likely to incur damage and expenses:
- We hold National Safe Driving Week (this year’s theme will be announced shortly).
- We give training on various topics (Web-based or in-class).
- We offer safe driving courses and courses on the transportation of dangerous goods.
- We train driving monitors and/or evaluators.
- We issue military driver’s licences and manage driving records.
- We examine the causes of avoidable accidents for prevention purposes.
- We explain DND legislation, policies and directives.
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