by Rob Csernyik
One of the newest weapons against impaired driving is the Alberta Motor Association's Roadbot, demonstrated Thursday. The driving simulator allows participants to test themselves in close to 200 driving scenarios, including donning a pair of goggles to simulate the dangers of driving intoxicated.
The AMA is forecasting Canada Day weekend to be one of this year's busiest long weekends on Alberta roadways. Jeff Kasbrick, a vice-president with AMA, said 46 percent of Albertans plan to celebrate Canada 150 outside their home city sometime this year. For those living outside Calgary or Edmonton, that number jumps to 54 percent.
He said there's an 18 percent increase in fatal collisions over long weekends compared to non-holiday weekends.
"That's something that we need to call out," Kasbrick said. "Because it's really important for us to realize and to remember that every single fatality on the road is actually preventable."
The Roadbot doesn't just offer users hazardous scenarios - it allows people to practice highway driving, merging in heavy traffic or safely navigating a snowstorm.
Ron Wilson, the AMA's manager of driver education, has had participants from teenagers up to an 80 yr old get in the driver's seat of the Roadbot.
He urges all Albertans to take extra care on the roads during the Canada Day weekend.
"Plan your drive," he said. "Make sure you're well prepared, well rested, courtesy breeds courtesy, don't be in a rush to get someplace, be safe, we want everyone to have a good long weekend."