Goodbye January... Welcome February 1, 2011 and 45,000 tickets issued for distracted driving!
February 1, 2010. A sad day for Blackberry and iPhone users and Text-a-holics all across Ontario. 'Twas the day Distracted Driving Penalties came into full force in Ontario. Here we are a year later. Here we are, 45,000 tickets later!
Have we learned our lesson? Have less car accidents happened? To whom do these penalties apply? Ah, therein lies the big question...and then comes to the headline that perhaps quite a few readers guiltily feasted on...
"TTC bus driver caught texting while driving on the job."
An observant passenger on the ever-so-busy bus, travelling at a speed of 50 kilometres an hour, snapped a photo of the bus driver texting while driving the bus.
"It is a significant safety issue for us. It is not only illegal, of course, to text and drive or to talk on your cell phone and drive, but it also violates our policy, which is a longstanding policy and it's based solely on safety...You're in charge of the bus full of passengers, you're responsible for the safety of other motorists on the road, pedestrians, cyclists, so we take this extremely seriously..." - Brad Ross, TTC spokesperson
Following the news reports of this initial story, it was reported that two additional bus drivers were caught texting and driving and caught on camera.
It is unfortunate to mention the sheer number of high-profile deaths and serious injuries that have been caused by TTC buses and streetcars this past fall/winter.
- December 12, 2010- a 50-year-old man was hit by a TTC bus and taken to Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre with serious injuries;
- December 24, 2010- Christmas tragedy- a TTC bus struck two Stacey Electric workers doing railway maintenance. It was the 4th accident involving a TTC vehicle that week.
- January 11, 2011- middle-aged man struck and killed by TTC streetcar, driver was unaware that the man had been hit and was under the streetcar;
- January 21, 2011- a 55-year-old man was struck and killed by a TTC bus, and again, the driver was unaware that the man had been struck;
- January 21, 2011- The McGuinty Government announced it is moving to declare the TTC an essential service as early as Spring 2011;
- January 30, 2011- elderly man slipped and fell under a parked TTC bus; it was rumoured he was getting off of the bus;
- February 1, 2011- 14-year-old girl was trapped under a TTC bus and rushed to hospital with serious injuries.
These weren't the only serious injuries and fatalities that happened. Across Ontario, there were quite a number of fatal hit and runs and car accidents in late 2010 and early 2011 involving pedestrians and cyclists.
- November 22, 2010- 23-year-old woman hit by a car while crossing the street during rush hour, rushed to hospital with head injury;
- November 29, 2010- a construction worker holding a traffic sign was struck and killed in Hamilton after a vehicle hit him;
- November 30, 2010- an elderly woman was struck by a car while crossing at a large intersection and rushed to the hospital;
- December 17, 2010- an SUV crashes through a mall entrance, striking a 60-year-old woman who was taken to hospital;
- December 21, 2010- a cyclist in his 50's was fighting for his life in hospital after being struck by a car and suffering massive injuries;
- December 28, 2010- a woman in her 30's was struck by 2 vehicles while crossing at an intersection and suffered life-threatening injuries;
- January 10, 2011-a man was struck and killed on Highway 400 while trying to help another motorist change a flat tire
- January 25, 2011- a City of Toronto worker was struck by an SUV while filling pot-holes;
- January 25, 2011- an elderly woman was struck by a vehicle while running across a street to catch a bus and suffered serious head injuries; she was jay-walking.
Will we ever learn to share the road?
Recently, Police have re-issued a warning about jay-walking; there have been complaints about cyclists using sidewalks instead of streets. Pedestrians of all ages risk serious injury if they are hit by cyclists and that is why cyclists should remain on the road and not on the sidewalk according to recent reports.
In Toronto, bicycles with a wheel diameter of more than 61 centimetres are to be ridden on the road, but the bylaw is neither well-publicized or enforced. What is needed is a way to enforce the bylaw regarding the use of the sidewalk and a way to discourage cars from parking in bicycle lanes. It looks like drivers, regardless of what type of 'vehicle' they drive need to do some deep breathing and get ready to share and care.
And in preparation for upcoming winter storm systems... Winter Safety Tips:
1.Prepare your car: Full Tank of Gas, Cables, Snow Brush, Salt, Car Charger, Winter Tires!
2. Keep Your Distance: On Wet Roads- allow for extra stopping distance, and on Snowy Roads- allow for EXTRA stopping distance!
3. Keep your Windshield Wipers in Good Condition! Keep Anti-Freeze and Windshield Washer Fluid handy!
4. Control: Look and Steer where you want to go! Don't over-brake and skid (especially on black ice)!
5. Highway Driving: Do not stop to help a disabled vehicle, call 9 1 1 and report it.
6. Highway Driving: If your vehicle breaks down, call 9 1 1 and wait for help to arrive and then, and only then tow your vehicle off of the highway to a safer location
7. BE SEEN: Clear off your car! Remove all snow off of your car. Take the time. It's worth it.
STAY CALM AND SAFE THIS WINTER GLUCKSTEIN & ASSOCIATES LLP
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