Road fatalities down significantly on OPP patrolled roads this year

Fatalities are down significantly this year on roads patrolled by Ontario Provincial Police, the force said Wednesday amid a cross-country traffic enforcement blitz.

The OPP said 58 people died on roads from Jan. 1 to May 5, compared to 97 road fatalities during the same time period last year  a 40 per cent decrease.

“We’d like to attribute it to people’s good driving behaviour and maybe we’ve changed some of that driving behaviour with our enforcement initiatives, but one poor weekend of fatal crashes, we can stack that number up pretty quick,” said Sgt. Jason Folz.

“It’s difficult to pinpoint the actual reason, the numbers are the numbers.”

The OPP said 45 per cent of fatalities so far this year are linked to speed, alcohol/drugs, distracted driving and lack of seat belt use the so-called  “big four.”

Last year, about 53 per cent of road deaths were linked to the big four.

“Until that number is zero, we’ve got work to do,” Folz said.

The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police is currently co-ordinating Canada Road Safety Week, a national campaign that began Tuesday and runs through long weekend.

Police officers across the country will be out in full force focusing on the big four, the association said.

There were 1,841 vehicle fatalities across the country in 2017, according to the latest data published by Transport Canada. That is a sizable decrease from a 20-year high of 2,980 fatalities in 1999.

“Canada Road Safety Week is an effective traffic enforcement initiative, however it is only part of the solution to saving lives. It is important that everyone take responsibility to ensure safety on our roads,” said OPP Commissioner Thomas Carrique.

Folz said the force was hoping motorists would be careful on the roads over the upcoming long weekend.

“Our highways will be full come the long weekend,” he said.  “It will be a busy time, so be safe.”

Where Are the Corners of Your Vehicle?

The RCMP’s advanced driver training course was without a doubt the most fun of any course many of the participants had taken in their service. We used an inactive runway at the Boundary Bay airport in Delta and a collection of well used Crown Victoria police interceptors to polish our driving skills. Contrary to what you might think, this was not a high-speed driving situation as we never got going faster than about 65 km/h.

What the majority of the course taught us was to be aware of the location of all four corners of our vehicles in relation to everything around us on the track.

From stall parking, backing through a slalom to the collection of curves, straights and sharp angles of the circuit, the object was to never touch one of the traffic cones that marked the edges and obstacles. Knock one over and you could lose so many points that your score would not be enough to pass.

In the circuit, we were expected to drive as fast as we were able to in addition to leaving all the cones alone. We also learned that if you spun your tires after receiving the “go” signal, you lost valuable time.

The road that leads to my home is a winding one and there are two sets of reversing curves where I seem to be meeting more drivers on the wrong side of the double solid center line lately. The worn condition of the center and shoulder lines at these corners indicate that this occurs frequently.

Surprisingly, our provincial driving manuals don’t have a lot to say about maintaining your lane position. The one piece of advice that I could find says:

The first thing you may notice as you begin driving in moderate traffic is that you have to stay in the centre of your lane. To start with, this is no easy task. The magic rule: look the way you want to go. If you keep looking 12 seconds ahead down the centre of the lane, your peripheral vision will help you centre yourself.

They do have more to say about another spot where lane discipline commonly breaks down, turning at intersections. Drivers are cautioned not to cut the corner or swing wide on turns.

The last bad habit to mention is driving with the right side tires to the right of the single solid line. In other words, driving on the shoulder. Along with all of the other behaviours mentioned, this is illegal.

One might think that if there are no lines painted on the road, it is not necessary to maintain proper lane position. This is not true either. A driver in this situation must still judge where the center of the road is and travel in the right-hand half.

Cst. Tim Schewe (Ret.) runs DriveSmartBC, a community web site about traffic safety in British Columbia. For 25 years he was an officer with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, including five years on general duty, 20 in traffic and 10 as a collision analyst responsible of conducting technical investigations of collisions. He retired from policing in 2006 but continues to be active in traffic safety through the DriveSmartBC web site, teaching seminars and contributing content to newspapers and web sites.

To Celebrate National Road Safety Week, Allstate Canada Debuts a Personalized App for the Modern Driver

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Canada Road Safety Week 2019

Canada Road Safety Week is an enforcement-driven initiative led by the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (CACP), and more specifically by the CACP’s Traffic Safety Committee. It is designed to increase public compliance with safe driving measures in order to save lives and reduce injuries on our roads.

This road safety awareness campaign is part of the broader Canada’s Road Safety Strategy 2025, which aims to make Canada’s roads the safest in the world. To this end, the campaign is focused on behaviours that put drivers, passengers, pedestrians and other vulnerable road users most at risk:

  • Alcohol-impaired driving
  • Drug-impaired driving
  • Fatigue-impaired driving
  • Distracted driving
  • Aggressive driving
  • Not wearing a seatbelt

In 2019, Canada Road Safety Week will take place from Tuesday May 14th to Monday May20th. Each day of Canada Road Safety Week will be dedicated to a different road safety risk factor, with Saturday, May 18th being designated National Enforcement Day.

All enforcement agencies across the country are invited to actively participate in this campaign and to encourage citizens in their respective community to adopt safe driving practices.

Canada Road Safety Week Toolkit

  • Poster: Promoting the theme and focus for Canada Road Safety Week
  • Briefer: Key messages to facilitate media interviews
  • Fact sheet: A list of facts and stats pertaining to each of the various road safety issues being addressed during Canada Road Safety Week. These can be useful to support media relations or social media initiatives.
  • Media advisory template: An invitation to the local media to attend the local CRSW initiative(s) to be undertaken by an individual police service. (Coming soon)
  • News release template: An overview of the campaign and insight into the initiative(s) undertaken by an individual police service. (Coming soon)
  • Social media content: A list of proposed images and messages to be used on Twitter and/or Facebook during the week of the campaign.

 

#DriveSmartBC – Please, Not So Close!

This must have been Following Too Closely Week in British Columbia. I received the story of an incident in Sooke, an analysis of a video from Richmond and was subjected to this dangerous behaviour myself. You might be able to get away with ignoring the Motor Vehicle Act, but the laws of physics will eventually prevail.

The story out of Sooke goes like this:

I’ve just witnessed the most inconsistent driver I’ve EVER SEEN in my 38 years of driving!

A black car passed me on the 4 lanes towards Sooke. He gets behind a pickup and commences to follow between 20 to 5 feet, maybe even LESS a couple times, all the way to Sooke. I was waiting for them to crash he was so close!!!

When the pickup turned off he’s right on the bumper of the next driver.

Now here’s the crazy part: He signals properly going through the traffic circle and signals to go into Village foods.

So he KNOWS how to drive properly yet tailgates like the most ignorant driver on the road…

Last Wednesday afternoon I was traveling in the right hand lane northbound on the south side of the Malahat. I had just entered the 70 km/h zone on the south side when I heard a loud air horn sound behind me. A glance in my rear view mirror showed nothing for a few moments but the shiny chrome grille of a green dump truck pulling a pup trailer.

Apparently he did not want to slow down or change lanes.

The drivers in these two stories knew they were wrong.

The one in Sooke made a deliberate choice to ignore common sense. Hopefully he has not fallen into the trap of letting this become his default setting because nothing bad has happened from it, yet.

In my case it was either the driver not wanting to slow on the hill or he had a momentary lapse of attention and was warning me of an impending collision because of it.

The video in the Richmond article shows typical following distances on B.C.’s highways today.

ICBC no longer publishes detailed collision data by contributing factor as it did years ago. However, a document from 2007 shows following distance at #7 in the list of top 10 causes of collisions.

This behaviour not make the top 10 in traffic tickets issued during 2017 though. Police wrote about 2,000 tickets for following too closely in general and 48 for commercial vehicle following too closely specifically. This is about 0.5% of the total number of tickets issued that year.

Please, not so close! Leave at least 2 seconds distance between vehicles. The risk may be comfortable for you but it’s not the smart choice.

Link:

DriveSmartBC

B.C. man convicted of distracted driving despite dead iPhone battery

RICHMOND, B.C. _ A B.C. driver has been found guilty of using a cellphone while behind the wheel, even though its battery was dead.

The decision, delivered Monday by judicial justice Brent Adair in Richmond, says Patrick Grzelak was using his iPhone with earbuds in his ears.

The ruling says Grzelak was alone in his Mercedes on Oct. 12, 2018, heading home after a long day, with the dead iPhone in the centre cubby hole of his dashboard, when he was pulled over in Surrey.

Adair found Grzelak was using the device because it was “in a position in which it may be used,” as defined under the Motor Vehicle Act.

Adair ruled it didn’t matter that the battery was dead or that Grzelak was not using the phone.

With the earbuds in, Adair ruled Grzelak was essentially holding the device.

“Since the earbuds were part of the electronic device and since the earbuds were in the defendants ears, it necessarily follows that the defendant was holding the device (or part of the device) in a position in which it could be used, i.e. his ears,” Adair wrote.

Adair pointed to a previous provincial court ruling that reached a similar conclusion in 2015.

In that decision, Adair says another judge ruled a dead battery does not override wording in the Motor Vehicle Act that makes it an offence to simply hold an electronic device in a position in which it may be used.

Conviction on a charge of using an electronic device while driving carries a $368 fine, plus four penalty points, as well as an Insurance Corporation of B.C. penalty fee of $210.

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