SUE MACNEIL  September 27, 1947 – December 16, 2008

Sue passed away on Tuesday December 16th, 2008 due to complications arising from chemotherapy during her courageous fight with cancer in Ottawa, ON. The road safety community has lost a great friend, an inspiring, knowledgeable teacher, a research analyst who could make the scientific data understandable and a mentor to many.

The HEART and SOUL of RSEA has left us at a critical time, but has left behind a tremendous legacy for road safety.

Sue was one of the first female driving instructors in Ontario. After a ten year absence from the field she returned to find little changed since she had left to raise her two children. As a result she began to search for better solutions to the issue of road safety and injury prevention. In 1984 she found herself enrolling at Carleton University doing an Interdisciplinary Honours Arts Degree in Road Safety and Injury Prevention which allowed her the latitude to travel to many conferences, study with many professors from diverse backgrounds and meet many researchers working in the field.

Although she was particularly interested in the research and development of road safety initiatives her main love was in the development of well researched, well thought out, innovative educational strategies at both the molar and the molecular levels. As an active lobbyist she worked diligently for more injury prevention dollars, better research to direct how these dollars are spent and the implementation of legislation to enhance the safety of all road users.

Sue embarked on developing a series of seminars, courses and workshops for individuals working in the field of road safety education. After working with Transport Canada on a developmental research project Sue developed a standardized on-road measure of crash potential for drivers. She hoped that over the next few years these measures will be validated for differing specific populations so we can better understand how individual differences and group affiliation contribute to road crash.

In 1989 Sue created a criteria for program development and over the past five years has worked at perfecting these criteria. They were accepted as the review criteria for programs to be designated as "RSEA approved curriculum", and are accepted as the standard for programs to be delivered through the Road Safety Educators’ Association Inc. of Canada and the Driving School Association of the Americas.

Sue presented at many conferences and attended even more. She was a strong proponent of the new paradigmatic shift seen in road safety education that focuses more on individual abilities and strengths. This shift is more research driven, bringing cognitive, attentional and visual skills more visibly into the forefront, compared to the traditional psychomotor skills we thought were so important in the past.

Sue acted as a consultant to a number of municipalities and government agencies to help return injured workers to driving and helped the medical community make more informed decisions concerning fitness to operate a motor vehicle within their patient population.

While Sue had an interest in all the various aspects of driver behaviour, she most particularly hoped to have an impact on how frequently and how sincerely we revisit the central questions rather than trying to find "bandaid" solutions to the extremely important issue of reducing death and injury on our highways.

Recently Sue has worked with large vehicle fleets in helping them increase productivity through systematic intervention that is data driven and client based. Her belief is that problems are often the opportunity and catalyst for innovative solutions in road safety.

In addition to her on-going role as Mother and Wife, Sue also found time to be:

A gourmet chef, an avid gardener, a gemstone appraiser and jewellery designer, a world-class equestrian coach, the architect, draftsman and general contractor for Sudenbrook and a good friend and mentor to many both in her chosen field and in her private life.

President, Little World Road Safety Services, and President, Driver Competency Assessment Protocols Inc.

A graduate from university with an Honours Arts Degree in Directed Interdisciplinary Studies with a focus in Road Safety and Injury Prevention (Carleton University 1994 Spring Convocation) who was awarded the senate medal upon her graduation.

Accredited with a Driving Therapist (DT) credential from Road Safety Educators’ Association Inc.

Sue served in the following positions:

1993 - 1998 President, Road Safety Educators' Association
1985 - 1994 Director, Arnprior District Association for Community Living
1999 - 2008 Director, Road Safety Educators' Association

Her list of awards are many and varied:

1999: ~ Distinguished Achievement Award - Road Safety Educators’ Association of Canada
1994, 1990: ~ Gord O'Hearn Award - outstanding contribution to the field of Driver Education in Ontario
1994: ~ Senate Medal, Carleton University: Outstanding Academic Achievement
1993, 1990: ~ Presidents Award - Driving School Association of Ontario
1990, 1998: ~ Innovations Award - Ontario Rehabilitation and Workplace Council - for Driver Education programs designed for individuals that have been labeled disabled.

Sue was an active member of the following Road Safety groups:

RSEA Road Safety Educators' Association
DSAO Driving School Association of Ontario
CARSP Canadian Association of Road Safety Professionals
HFAC Human Factors Association of Canada
SORT Survivors of Road Trauma
TAC Transportation Association of Canada
TRB Transportation Research Board, Washington (committee member)
CARP Canadian Association for Rehabilitation Professionals

Her course development work was continuous and wide ranging. Many people from a wide variety of road safety backgrounds received the benefit of her efforts. Among her courses, books and workshops are the following:

2008 ~ Served as a committee member for the development of the new Ontario Beginner Driver Education Curriculum Standard and was working on a new BDE curriculum with other collaborators.
2007 ~ Worked with Dr. Pierro Hirsch of Virage Simulation in Montreal in the development of a driving simulator.
2007 ~ Co-authored a resource booklet for Driving Therapists titled “An introduction to In-Vehicle Driving Therapy”.
2007 ~ Developed a workshop to be delivered to instructors and trainers entitled “Cooperative Driving”
2005 - 06 ~ Wrote a chapter titled “Driver Education, Training and Licensing” for an ergonomic Textbook “Human Factors in Traffic Safety”; Dewar and Olsen; Lawyers and Judges Publishing Company.
2006 ~ Developed a workshop to be delivered to instructors and trainers entitled “Cell Phones, Conversation and Coffee: The role of inattention and distraction in driving”,
2005 ~ Developed a workshop to be delivered to instructors and trainers entitled ‘Auto$mart: A New Point of View: Linking Safe and Fuel Efficient Driving’, in conjunction with NRCan.
2003 ~ Developed workshop to be delivered to instructors in Tucson, Arizona entitled ‘In the Mind’s Eye; the Role of Perception and Cognition in Driving’, sponsored by the Driving School
Association of the Americas. This course was also delivered in PEI.
2002 ~ Developed a workshop to be delivered to instructors in Savannah, Georgia entitled ‘Cell Phones, Conversation and Coffee: The role of inattention and distraction in driving’, sponsored by the Driving School Association of the Americas
1994 - 2000 ~ Development and refinement of a standardized assessment tool and on-road protocol for evaluating drivers in all vehicle types and from differing demographic groups.
1996 - 99 ~ Co-authored a resource manual for instructors and trainers titled “Decisions and Choices in today’s driving environment”.
1999 ~ Developed Policy and Procedures addressing Driver Interventions for Regional Government in Ontario
1999 ~ Researched and presented “Enhancing Safety Through Systematic Measurement And Remediation With Lower Financial Commitment” to the Canadian Multidisciplinary Road Safety Conference, Halifax 1999
1998 ~ Developed and delivered a road safety program specifically designed for dealing with drivers who have difficulties dealing with internal distracters and/or competing demands when driving called “Inattention, Multi-tasking and Motivation”
1998 ~ Developed and delivered a national road safety workshop specifically designed for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS)
1998 ~ Helped define the parameters for the credential Driving Therapist DT (RSEA) and oversaw the delivery of the educational program.
1998 ~ Developed “The Road Safety Facilitator Program” for educators working with licensed drivers.
1997 ~ Was instrumental in winning the contract for the Road Safety Educators’ Association to deliver the Addiction Research Foundation Program “Drinking, Drugs and Driving: Tips for Driver Educators”
1996 ~ Sat on the International Coalition for Road and Traffic Safety working out of Washington, DC.
1996 ~ Sat on the Policy Advisory Council for the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario
1996 ~ Developed a set of rehabilitation protocols for driving as well as developing a fleet loss prevention strategy
1995 ~ Conducted a crash reconstruction of an incident in 1985 using forensic and eye witness data and the Driver Competency Assessment protocols.
1995 ~ Conducted an ergonomic study of an intersection for a proposed site for an elementary school and testified as an expert witness at the OMB hearings on behalf of the Constance and Buckham's Bay Community Association Education Advisory Committee.
1995 ~ Participated in the Driver Education Advisory Council for the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario
1995 ~ Workshop leader for the Rehabilitation Conference in British Columbia.
1995 ~ Seminar leader in the Reduction of Trauma and Loss Conference for Professionals, Boston Massachusetts Medical Centre.
1995 ~ Speaking tour for special populations and the use of the Driver Competency Assessment: World Congress, White House Conference on Aging, AAMVA, ADED and Stein Gerontological Institute.
1994 ~ Consultant with Mediastruction developing audio/visual materials for Road Safety Educators with supporting documentation.
1994 ~ Development and delivery of four senior level courses for road safety educators and evaluators including, i) Curriculum development, ii) Decision making iii) Driver Competency Assessment level 1, 2, & 3 iv) Trauma Course - Dealing with Special Populations.
1994 ~ Active participant in working with government on a proposed partnership model for Road Safety in Ontario.
1993 ~ Helped CBC Marketplace in research depicting driver education in Ontario.
1990 - 93 ~ Three year project as contract consultant with Transport Canada developing a driver assessment protocol for measuring ergonomic issues.
1990 ~ Completed a research project concerning the integration of disabled persons into community living, funded by The Ontario Office for Disability Issues. Research was presented at three conferences in 1991.
1989 ~ Second consultant with TRIADD for MPIC in Manitoba regarding Driver Education.

All of us, members of RSEA and the Road Safety community owe a great deal to this lady.

We shall miss you, Sue. And we THANK YOU.

Our hearts go out to Denis, her children Ryan (Lesia) and Katrina (Chris) and grandchildren Eric, Lucas, Charlie and William.

Home | About DCA | Articles | Contact Us | Courses | Fleet Services | Rehabilitation | Links