An Ontario government road safety initiative designed to target dangerous driving behaviour and improve road safety in communities across the province is being launched today by Transportation Minister Norm Sterling. Ontario’s Road Safety Challenge 2002 will run from May 4th to 12th and include 27 communities across Ontario. “Impaired and aggressive driving, along with the failure to buckle up, are the most serious threats to safety we face on our roadways today,” says Sterling. “By working closely with local volunteers and police and road safety organizations, our government has helped make Ontario’s roads the safest in Canada. Through public education initiatives like Road Safety Challenge we are continuing to make our roadways safer.” Using local collision statistics, community teams are challenged to identify and focus on the top three road safety issues in their communities. Teams will develop and deliver educational programs, launch events and other activities to raise local awareness about road user safety; and be eligible to compete for the Road Safety Challenge 2002 Innovation Awards. The Ontario government is providing $75,000 to assist the local road safety initiatives in this year’s campaign. Support for the campaign is also being provided by private sector sponsors, including $20,000 from State Farm Insurance and $5,000 from 3M. This corporate support for Challenge 2002 is helping provide teams across the province with campaign materials to increase public awareness of road safety. Ontario has the safest roads in Canada and the second safest roads in North America, according to the latest statistics. Maintaining our excellent safety record continues to be a priority of this government. “Through partnerships and initiatives like Road Safety Challenge 2002, we are continuing to enhance road safety across the province,” Sterling said. The Ontario government has introduced tough legislation, increased enforcement and launched public education programs to enhance road user safety. Throughout the year, the Ministry of Transportation works with more than 130 road user safety groups on a variety of education initiatives such as child seat inspection clinics, province-wide seat belt campaigns, and anti- drinking and driving campaigns.