‘Time is precious’ ad campaign

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The 'Time is precious' ad campaign is part of the Road Safety Action Plan's education work. In educating residents – whether they drive, cycle and/or walk – the Plan aims to de-normalize unsafe road behaviour and foster a culture of road safety in Ottawa. Each month focuses on different emphasis areas, which are chosen based on the high incidence of fatal and major injury collisions in those months involving those behaviours.

Ad campaign videos and radio spots

This video and radio spot address high-risk driving behaviours, including speeding, aggressive and distracted driving and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. 

You keep telling yourself you're in control, that you don't drive too fast.
You keep telling yourself you're not that high, that you've only had a few drinks.
You keep telling yourself that text can't wait.
You're dead wrong.

Impaired driving

Ads 

Driving while impaired by drugs is the emphasis area each July and impaired by alcohol is the focus in December. During those months ads will run on social media platforms and a variety of websites and streaming services suitable for the target audiences. They might also appear on OC Transpo buses, bus shelters, billboards, in restaurant washrooms and elsewhere. The high-risk driving video and radio spot will also be running. 

Note: Some ads will not be posted on this website due to their graphic images. Those ads will appear only where an adult age range of viewers can be specified.

Key messages 

The key messages in the ad campaign are reinforced with various media products such as feature stories in the ottawa.ca newsroom. We also work closely with partners like the Ottawa Police Service and MADD Canada to coordinate road safety messaging and initiatives.  

It's the law 

  • We all pride ourselves on being safe, responsible drivers. But do you know what the legal definition of ‘impaired’ is when you’re behind the wheel? 

  • Even though you may not feel impaired, and whether you exceed the legal limits or not, consumption of any amount of alcohol, cannabis or other recreational drug may impair your ability to operate a motor vehicle, putting you and others at risk.  

  • The amount you’ve consumed is irrelevant if you exhibit signs of impairment – it’s a criminal offense

  • If police determine that you have drugs or alcohol in your system and/or that you are impaired by any substance, you can face severe consequences and potential criminal charges. 

  • If you plan to consume drugs or alcohol, plan a safe way home first. 

It’s a life 

  • Receiving a fine or even a short licence suspension is one thing, but seriously injuring or killing someone is another.  

  • Data confirms the danger. Between 2017-2021, there were 25 fatal or major injury collisions in Ottawa related to impaired driving. Those are 25 mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, partners or friends whose lives were forever changed or lost. 

The safe alternatives: some reminders 

  • If you plan to consume drugs or alcohol, plan a safe way home first 

  • Have a designated driver who is not consuming 

  • Call a taxi or ride-sharing service 

  • Take public transit 

  • Walk, if the distance permits (and wear bright clothing after dark) 

 

In memory of a daughter, a sister, a friend 

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), a national organization whose mission is to stop impaired driving and support the victims, has a heartbreaking record of victim tributes on their website. 

Victims like Ottawa’s Emma Leckey. Emma was just weeks away from her 22nd birthday and about to graduate from university when she was struck by a drunk driver. Emma never regained consciousness and died of her injuries. 

Emma majored in Ethics, Society and Law and intended to pursue a career helping others. She had already done a good deal of that in her short life, chairing the Canadian Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, advocating for 2SLGBTQQIA rights, and devoting her honours research project to Indigenous health issues. “Emma was the most loyal of friends, most of all to her older brother and sister,” states her father, Geoff Leckey. “Every moment spent with Emma was fun. Heads turned to catch her beautiful smile. She loved music, dogs, travelling, blue cheese, Bananagrams, badminton and pedicures. What a gift stolen from the world. So many hearts broken.” 

Emma Lecke

Background

The Road Safety Action Plan - 2023 Implementation Plan aims to enhance existing programs and introduce new strategies and tactics to make our roads safer.

2013 to 2017 data

  • 743 fatal and major injury collisions during this period 

  • 451 or 60% of all fatal and major injury collisions involved one or more drivers engaged in one or more high-risk driving behaviours, which includes impaired driving 

2018 to 2022 data

  • 632 fatal and major injury collisions during this period (down from previous five-year period) 

  • 533 or 84% of all fatal and major injury collisions involved one or more drivers engaged in one or more high-risk driving behaviours, which includes impaired driving (up from previous five-year period) 

Distracted driving

Ads 

Distracted driving is the emphasis area for the Road Safety Action Plan each February and November. During those months, ads with that theme will run on social media platforms, and a variety of websites and streaming services suitable for the target audiences (as determined by Ottawa data 2018-2022, mostly males aged 18-44). The ads may also appear on OC Transpo buses, bus shelters, billboards, in restaurant washrooms and elsewhere. The high-risk driving video and radio spot will also be running. 

The ad campaign for February 2024 launched with this feature story on the perils of distracted driving.

Note: Some ads will not be posted on this website due to their graphic images. Those ads will appear only where an adult age range of viewers can be specified.

Car with crashed front. Young male looking concerned. 'I looked down to check my phone. It was only for a second. Always keep your eyes on the road.’
Key messages

The key messages in the ad campaign are shared through ads and media products such as feature stories in the ottawa.ca newsroom. We also work closely with the Ottawa Police ServiceMADD Canada and other partners to coordinate road safety messaging and initiatives.  

Step 1: Avoid temptation

It’s so tempting to glance down quickly and even do a quick reply. Just don’t. Instead: 

  • Plan your trip ahead so you don’t need to check for directions enroute
  • Set your phone or smartwatch to ‘Do not disturb’ while you’re driving
  • If you have to check your phone or respond, pull over somewhere safe, well off the road
  • If you have a passenger, give them control of your phone
  • Set up a reply message letting people know you’re driving

Define 'distraction'

Any activity that takes even some of your attention from the road is dangerous. When you are drowsy, you also become easily distracted and your reaction times slow down.

  • Texting or talking on a cell phone
  • Interacting with a smartwatch
  • Eating or drinking
  • Grooming or applying makeup
  • Interacting with passengers or pets
  • Daydreaming or getting lost in thought
  • Adjusting the radio or temperature controls

City actions

The Road Safety Action Plan - 2023 Implementation Plan aims to enhance existing programs and introduce new strategies and tactics to make our roads safer. However, distracted driving is mostly behavioural. There are few, if any, engineering mitigation measures available. Instead, the Road Safety Action Plan focuses on education. Education includes media releases, ad campaigns, videos, signage and in-person events. We also support partner programs, including:

  • the Ottawa Police Service’s Leave The Phone Alone; it has a wealth of information on distraction-free driving, including for young people who are not yet licensed drivers, and a nation-wide campaign to ‘Take the Pledge’
  • National Teen Driver Safety Week, by Parachute Canada