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Why I Support The Coalition For A Safer 63/881

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I’m Ahmed Taha, Vice President of Oilsands Operations for Tervita Corporation, a leading North American environmental and energy services provider. I have called Fort McMurray home for five years. It’s a vibrant city with a great sense of community.

THE MAIN ARTERIAL ROAD TO AND FROM THE OILSANDS near Fort McMurray is one of the most dangerous stretches of road in Alberta. Tervita currently has more than 280 employees who travel along Highways 63 and 881 every day for work. The safety of our employees, their families, and our community are the most important things to me and after seeing the devastation on the highway I knew something had to change. I knew I needed to do something to help change bad driving habits to make our community safer.

To raise awareness of the dangers and encourage safer driving, the Coalition for a Safer 63 and 881 was formed in 2010. The committee is made up of industry and government partners, including Tervita Corporation, ConocoPhillips, Nexen, Statoil, Syncrude, Suncor, Devon, Cenovus, and the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo. I want to make sure all of our employees get home safe to their families each night and by having leaders from Tervita and other industry partners on the committee, we are able to share important messages about safe driving with our employees and the community.

The coalition began a new campaign this spring focusing on fatigue. More than 500 people lose their lives in vehicle accidents every year in Canada, largely due to fatigued driving - a stat that most people are not aware of. In a lot of cases, it’s essentially the same as driving under the influence of alcohol. Especially after a long day of work, people just want to get home quickly. This sense of urgency and rush is causing a lot of collisions and fatalities on the highways. We need to make people aware of the dangers associated with driving tired.

The coalition has made some great progress in raising awareness, but we still have a lot more work to do to get to the hearts and minds of people who drive these highways. We all owe it to our employees, colleagues, friends, and families to spread the message about safe driving and to drive responsibly. If our work saves only one life this year I will consider it well worth it, but I’m optimistic we can save many more.


Highway 63: 1,080 collisions

5 fatalities

Highway 881: 278 collisions

7 fatalities


Highway 63: 230 collisions

4 fatalities

Highway 881: 112 collisions

2 fatalities

*statistics courtesy of RCMP Lac La Biche