Sunday, March 28, 2010

Truck blitz sweeps Rexdale

Dozens of police officers are sweeping the streets clean of unsafe commercial vehicles as part of the two-day Project Spring Cleanup.

The third annual joint law-enforcement-services operation will see hundreds of trucks pulled over and inspected at Woodbine Racetrack to ensure they are operated safely and with proper documentation.

“Keeping vehicles safe on the roads saves people’s lives and prevent horrific injuries from occurring,” 23 Division Supt. Ron Taverner said, of the reason for the Rexdale-area enforcement blitz. “There are also savings in property damage and insurance rates in keeping these vehicles safe.”

Police officers from the OPP, Peel, Halton, York, and Guelph, as well as enforcement officers from the Ministry of Transportation, Revenue and Environment participated in inspecting the vehicles.

Taverner said that so many police services and provincial government agencies are eager to join forces for enforcement campaigns because they are effective for all jurisdictions.

“These commercial vehicles travel the whole province so, when we do a blitz here, it affects every community in Ontario.”

Commercial Vehicle inspectors, who are trained in a five-week course, carried out inspections after officers from the OPP, Toronto and Peel pulled over cars in the nearby area and 400-series highways.

“This division has a large industrial area,” 23 Division Sgt. Jason Leitch said, also noting highways 401, 409 and 427 cut through the Division. “Traffic safety is one of the priorities of the Service and commercial vehicle inspections are a priority in this division.”

During the first few hours of the blitz, several vehicles were taken off the road, including a scrap truck inspected by Halton police officers, with too much play in its steering. The truck had to be repaired on site or towed away, and faces a $390 fine for operating with a major defect.

One tractor-trailer carrying an inter-modal (shipping) container had its plates removed after Ministry of Transportation officers found several major defects.

The truck had a cracked frame, an insecure saddle tank, loose U-bolts, a leak in its exhaust line and a flat tire. The driver had also misrepresented documentation by writing the truck was inspected before being driven, as per the law.

Among other charges, the driver and company will face up to a $10,000 fine for operating an unsafe vehicle.

Before the day got started, officers took a moment to remember Peel Const. Artem James Ochakovsky, who died after a collision March 1.

Taverner presented a cheque on behalf of the officers of D platoon, who raised $350 in support of the Ochakovsky’s wife and three-year-old son.

Peel S/Supt Blair Foley and Insp. John Sutherland were on hand to accept the donation and express gratitude for the continued support from many officers.
“The support we have received from all police services at the funeral was exceptional,” Foley said, noting over 700 Toronto officers attended.

He said 53 Division officers also blocked every intersection from Highway 401 to Sunnybrook Hospital during the ambulance emergency run, and delivered food as well as moral support to Peel officers at the hospital.

“It’s a tremendous show of support.”

Original article from Toronto Police CLICK HERE

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Project Spring Cleanup

Woodbine race track, 555 Rexdale Boulevard, north west parking lot,

Project Spring Cleanup,
Truck Inspection Blitz

23 Division

23 Division will conduct a Heavy Truck and Commercial vehicle enforcement blitz, Project Spring Cleanup, from Thursday, March 25, 2010, to Friday, March 26, 2010.

This enforcement initiative will be a joint−forces venture involving the Ontario Provincial Police, Peel Regional Police, York Regional Police, Halton Regional Police Service, Guelph Police Service, and the Ontario Ministries of Transportation, Environment and Revenue.

The location for Project Spring Cleanup will be Woodbine race track, 555 Rexdale Boulevard, in the north west parking lot, at 8 a.m.

The primary goal is public safety, through the removal of unsafe and potentially dangerous vehicles from our highways.

In addition, Superintendent Ron Taverner will be presenting a cheque to members of Peel Regional Police, for James Ochakovsky's family.

For further information, please contact Sergeant Jason Leitch at 416−808−2300.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Hands on the wheel, eyes on the road. It's the law!

I have always loved the 'rants' that Rick Mercer has done. Informative, provocative, funny and on the mark with sometimes brutal honesty.

This video is no exception.

Thanks to Rick Mercer and the Ministry of Transportation for doing this.

You can follow Rick Mercer on Twitter @rickmercer His website is

For more information on distracted driving, click here.

Now it's your turn...what do you think? Why do people feel the need to talk, text, type or read while driving? Is eating, drinking a beverage or talking to someone else in the car just as much of a distraction? Let me know your thoughts.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Can you share the road with cyclists?

Special thanks to Scott Marshall aka @safedriver aka The Safe Driver for allowing me to re-post this article from his blog,

Do you remember when you first learned to ride a bike? I was so thrilled that I could get rid of my training wheels and ride my bike like my friends could. It gave me that early feeling of mobility. As a driving instructor, it made perfect sense for me to have taught each of my kids how to ride their bikes and they’ve felt the same way I did when I was their age. Once you’ve learned how to ride a bike, you have to learn how to blend into traffic in a safe manner. Drivers also need to blend smoothly with cyclists. How well do you drive with cyclists near you?

The first thing to remember as a driver is to keep your eyes moving from side to side to help spot cyclists that may enter your traffic flow. That, combined with looking well ahead, will help you see the cyclists sooner to give you time to adjust. As drivers, we must remember that most cyclists will be riding their bicycles at a speed much slower than our speed. We have to recognize this fact early and adjust speed early enough so we can avoid sharing the same lane as cyclists.

Look for cyclists that may be coming out of driveways, from between parked vehicles or scooting across crosswalks when they shouldn’t. Being prepared for them is a very proactive way to drive; but we must also know what to do when we come across a cyclist.

A cyclist may move around a sewer grate at any time, so as a driver, we must give a cyclist as much room as possible when passing them. When doing a lane change around a cyclist, change lanes early enough that the drivers behind have time to see the cyclist so they can change lanes early as well. A sudden lane change may jeopardize the safety of a cyclist.

If you have to move around a cyclist on a two-lane road, move across the centre line when it’s safe to do so. Make sure there is no oncoming traffic and that your visibility is good. After you’ve passed the cyclist, drift back into your lane when the cyclist is visible in your mirrors. This ensures they are far enough behind you to remain safe. Earlier this summer while I was out with my family, I came across an oncoming driver who had drifted across the centre line to avoid a cyclist. The only problem was that I was directly in the path of this oncoming van. I had to use the shoulder to avoid the head on collision. This oncoming driver used poor judgement to pass the cyclist, but luckily I saw them in time to respond. Let’s hope that more drivers use better judgement when passing cyclists.

There have been times in the past when I had the chance to ride my bike to my office when I knew I was in my office all day. The 45 minute bike ride was quite a challenge. Drivers coming from behind me didn’t give me much room. It was a good thing I had a mirror on my bike that allowed me to see what was approaching me from behind. I remember a few times that I had to escape up a driveway ramp or parking lot ramp to avoid a close call with a driver.

Experiencing that has allowed me to improve my driving instruction to allow cyclists more space. I have a better understanding of what cyclists need in order to ride their bikes safely along public roads. Maybe that’s what all drivers need; to ride their bikes in traffic from time to time. I think it would help appreciate how difficult it can be at times.

Making right turns can also be a problem for both drivers and cyclists. The next time you’re moving slowing before turning or are stopped in traffic before turning and are approaching the intersection; check your blind spot to the right before starting the turn. The cyclist may have snuck between your vehicle and the curb. Anticipating that the cyclist may be approaching is always a good thing, so constantly checking your side mirror is a good thing.

Since our communities have added many bicycle lanes, be sure you check your mirrors and blind spots before entering them; especially when driving slowly enough for cyclists to be there. You are allowed to enter the last portion of the cyclist lane before turning. Like any lane change, you’ll need to check for other vehicles. Having good short term memory is important since you’ll have to remember if you’ve just passed a cyclist before entering the bicycle lane.

Cyclist can also have a difficult time when they are driving through residential areas. If you need to park your vehicle on the street, open the door with your right hand. It allows you to glance in your side mirror and blind spot before the door opens. This will help you see if any cyclists are coming up the side of your vehicle.

I hope these tips will make some sense to you as a driver; and also as a cyclist. We need to share the roads with all road users, so let’s do it safely.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Out of Town Observations

I promised my wife that during this vacation, the only work I would do is studying for an upcoming don't let her know about this post.

We drove to Florida late last week, which I why I have been very quiet both here and on Twitter. During the 24 hour dive we got to see a lot of interesting sights and behaviours on the interstates.

Even our children got in on the, "What is that person thinking?" conversations that the adults in the front seat were having. The fact that children under 8 could identify mistakes that drivers were making is a clear indication that learning to drive starts with not only the habits we portray to our children, but the behaviours they recognize in other drivers as being wrong. And it starts long before the getting ready to grab the wheel age.

Think about belt use, speeding, signals and smooth inputs are something children can easily recognize from their seats.

What kind of example and future driver are you creating?

When we get back and I am done studying, I will be writing extensively about some of the things that I have been seeing...keep in mind we are in the the state that can boast 6% of the U.S. population and is number 1 in pedestrian and cyclist deaths across America.

Toronto cyclists have bike lanes to no where....Florida pedestrians have to contend with sidewalks to no where as well!