Sunday, January 31, 2010

Distracted Driving Legislation

I have been getting asked what exactly the new legislation banning distracted driving really means.

In a type, no text, no email. No watching video screens, (TVs, iPods, DVDs, computer screens, etc.)

You can use GPS, but you can't plan or adjust routes while in motion.

The navigation and system operations screens of your vehicle are not included in the screens you can't look at.

You can talk on the phone, as long as you are using a wired headset or wireless device.

Get caught doing any of these things and the fine the officer will hand you is $155.00 ($125 fine, $25 victim surcharge, $5 court costs).

Here is the breakdown of quick facts from the Ministry of Transportation.

Drivers can still use "hands-free" devices:

  • Cell phone with an earpiece, headset or Bluetooth device using voice-activated dialling. Drivers can push the button to activate or deactivate a "hands-free" function, as long as the device is mounted or secured (for example, in a mobile phone mount, mp3 player mount, or in a cup holder).
  • The screens on GPS devices may be viewed while driving, provided the device is mounted on the dashboard or secured to another place in the vehicle (for example, on a GPS windshield suction mount not blocking the driver's view, or in a GPS cup holder mount). Typically these units issue voice commands and drivers must input the required information before they start driving.
  • Portable media player (e.g. iPod) plugged into vehicle's sound system

As a driver, your first responsibility is to drive safely: any unnecessary activity that distracts a driver from the task of driving should always be avoided.

The law does not apply to:

  • Drivers in vehicles that are pulled off the roadway and not impeding traffic or are lawfully parked
    Note: It is dangerous to stop on the shoulder of a 400-series highway and drivers are prohibited from pulling off a designated 400-series highway and parking for a reason other than an emergency. If the situation is not an emergency, drivers are advised to exit the freeway at an interchange or pull into the nearest service centre.
  • 911 calls
  • Pressing the button of a hand-held device to:
    • activate or turn off hands-free mode
    • transmit or receive voice communication on hand-mikes and portable radios ("walkie-talkies")
      Note: the device must be placed securely in or mounted to the motor vehicle when the button is being pressed.
  • Viewing display screens that are built into the vehicle
    • used for collision avoidance systems
    • showing information about the vehicle's status, or that provides road or weather information
  • Ignition interlock devices
  • Audio devices with screens that display still images (for example, an MP3 player displaying a still image of artist or name of song playing)
  • Police, paramedics and firefighters, and enforcement officers using hand-held devices and viewing display screens when performing their duties

Three-year exemptions:

A small percentage of drivers in transport-related industries (e.g., school buses, taxis, couriers) and public service workers (e.g., transit and highway maintenance workers) rely on the use of certain types of wireless devices and display screen technologies in the performance of day-to-day operations.

To help these businesses stay competitive, Ontario is granting a three-year exemption to allow for hands-free technologies to be developed:

  • Hand-held two-way radios for commercial purposes, including mobile and CB radios.
  • Two-way radio use and viewing display screens for provincial offences officers and municipal by-law enforcement officers when performing their duties. (Two-way radios have a separate receiver unit that is connected to a hand-held microphone).
  • Amateur radio operators, who assist emergency responders in situations such as severe storms and blackouts.
  • Using mobile data terminals and logistical tracking and dispatching devices for commercial and public service vehicle drivers when performing their duties.

Review the full regulations in the Highway Traffic Act here.

Here is the actual legislation from the Highway Traffic Act.

Display screen visible to driver prohibited

78. (1) No person shall drive a motor vehicle on a highway if the display

screen of a television, computer or other device in the motor vehicle is visible to

the driver. 2009, c. 4, s. 1.


(2) Subsection (1) does not apply in respect of the display screen of,

(a) a global positioning system navigation device while being used to

provide navigation information;

(b) a hand-held wireless communication device or a device that is

prescribed for the purpose of subsection 78.1 (1);

(c) a logistical transportation tracking system device used for commercial

purposes to track vehicle location, driver status or the delivery of

packages or other goods;

(d) a collision avoidance system device that has no other function than to

deliver a collision avoidance system; or

(e) an instrument, gauge or system that is used to provide information to the

driver regarding the status of various systems of the motor vehicle.

2009, c. 4, s. 1.


(3) Subsection (1) does not apply to the driver of an ambulance, fire

department vehicle or police department vehicle. 2009, c. 4, s. 1.

Exemption by regulation

(4) The Minister may make regulations exempting any class of persons or

vehicles or any device from this section and prescribing conditions and

circumstances for any such exemption. 2009, c. 4, s. 1.

Hand-held devices prohibited

Wireless communication devices

78.1 (1) No person shall drive a motor vehicle on a highway while holding

or using a hand-held wireless communication device or other prescribed device

that is capable of receiving or transmitting telephone communications, electronic

data, mail or text messages. 2009, c. 4, s. 2.

Entertainment devices

(2) No person shall drive a motor vehicle on a highway while holding or

using a hand-held electronic entertainment device or other prescribed device the

primary use of which is unrelated to the safe operation of the motor vehicle. 2009,

c. 4, s. 2.

Hands-free mode allowed

(3) Despite subsections (1) and (2), a person may drive a motor vehicle on a

highway while using a device described in those subsections in hands-free mode.

2009, c. 4, s. 2.


(4) Subsection (1) does not apply to,

(a) the driver of an ambulance, fire department vehicle or police department


(b) any other prescribed person or class of persons;

(c) a person holding or using a device prescribed for the purpose of this

subsection; or

(d) a person engaged in a prescribed activity or in prescribed conditions or

circumstances. 2009, c. 4, s. 2.


(5) Subsection (1) does not apply in respect of the use of a device to contact

ambulance, police or fire department emergency services. 2009, c. 4, s. 2.


(6) Subsections (1) and (2) do not apply if all of the following conditions are


1. The motor vehicle is off the roadway or is lawfully parked on the


2. The motor vehicle is not in motion.

3. The motor vehicle is not impeding traffic. 2009, c. 4, s. 2.


(7) The Minister may make regulations,

(a) prescribing devices for the purpose of subsections (1) and (2);

(b) prescribing persons, classes of persons, devices, activities, conditions

and circumstances for the purpose of subsection (4). 2009, c. 4, s. 2.


(8) In this section,

“motor vehicle” includes a street car, motorized snow vehicle, farm tractor, self propelled

implement of husbandry and road-building machine. 2009, c. 4,

s. 2.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Hand Held Charges Start Monday February 1, 2010

On February 1, 2010, police will begin issuing tickets for using hand-held cell phones and communications and entertainment devices while driving in Ontario.

Drivers caught using a hand-held device will be issued a $155 ticket.

Since the ban on hand-held devices became Ontario law on October 26, 2009, the focus has been on educating drivers about Ontario's new road rules for hand-held wireless communication and entertainment devices. This education period gave drivers a chance to adjust to the new law.

The distracted driving law makes it illegal for drivers to talk, text, type, dial or email using hand-held cell phones and other hand-held communications and entertainment devices. Hands-free use of these devices is permitted. The new law also prohibits the viewing of display screens unrelated to driving such as laptop computers or DVD players.

Police, paramedics and firefighters, as well as some commercial drivers and public service workers may continue to use certain hand-held devices when performing their duties. All drivers may use hand-held devices to call 9-1-1.

  • Studies show that a driver using a cell phone is four times more likely to be in a crash than a driver focused on the road. Dialing and texting carry the highest degree of risk of all cell phone-related activities.
  • If a driver challenges the ticket in court, a judge has the discretion to adjust the fine anywhere in the range of $60 to $500.
Ministry of Transportation

"This law is about keeping your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel. We need to prevent needless crashes caused by driver distraction and I believe this law will do just that."

– Kathleen Wynne
Minister of Transportation

What do I do if my gas pedal sticks?

There has been a great deal of talk lately about sticky gas pedals on certain models of vehicles. OK, so you have a vehicle that has a faulty gas pedal. What do you do if your pedal sticks before you get the problem fixed? Or, suddenly one day your vehicle's accelerator sticks, and you don't even have a car that has been under a recall notice.

Here are the four steps to dealing with an accelerator that sticks.

1.) Brakes.
As hard as you can! You need to first counter the problem of your gas pedal keeping the car moving. I'm talking Fred Flinstone here, (kids ask your parents who that is), both feet until you can't push any further.

2.) Neutral.
You need to remove the engines power from going to the cars wheels. Many models of cars don't require anything more than pushing the selector to the neutral position. Some, you need to press a button. Either way, hammer that selector to 'N'. At this time, you will hear your engine screaming...don't worry, better that then smashing into something/someone. You may want to ease of the brakes now so you can get off the road.

If you can't shift to neutral than jump to 3 and 4.

3.) Steering.
Get off the roadway or over to the curb by steering gently in the direction you want to go.

Shut the car off.
4.) Once you are stopped, turn off the ignition.

The faster that you can accomplish these steps, the safer you will be while minimizing the potential damage to your engine.

You can practice these while stationary so that you can be proficient at it in case you ever need to do it. (And if I had a car that was under a recall notice for this problem, you bet I'd be practicing it - if I was going to drive it at all.)

The reason that you turn off the ignition last is because you will need the power from the engine to keep your power steering and brakes activated going.

Always refer to your manufacturers recommended procedure for this problem which may vary slightly depending on your model of vehicle.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Pedestrian Do's and Dont's

Over the last few days as the Toronto Police have aggressively been raising the bar of awareness regarding pedestrian safety I have been answering recurring questions about what is a pedestrian offence.

One of the steps that must be taken in solving any problem is ensuring that there is an understanding of what is required, the guidelines, the route to the desired outcome.

In explaining what the offences were that pedestrians could be committing, it dawned on me that many people don't know the rules, the guidelines...the law.

So, to hopefully clear up some obvious confusion, here goes!

Signalized Intersections
The only time you are allowed to enter onto the road way at a signalized intersection is when the pedestrian control facing the direction you want to travel indicates a walk symbol. If there is no pedestrian control, you can only enter the roadway when the green light is on for the direction you want to travel.

If the don't walk symbol is illuminated either flashing or solid, you can not enter onto the roadway. You must remain off the roadway until a walk symbol is on.

If there is a countdown timer with the don't walk symbol you can not enter the roadway.

The flashing don't walk symbol, solid don't walk symbol and countdown timer are only indications that the lights are about to change and if you are on the roadway, you better get off before cross traffic commences.

If you enter the roadway on any of those symbols you are breaking the law.

Consider those symbols "amber lights for pedestrians". If you have started, finish. If you haven't started, don't start.

To summarize the above....WALK SIGNAL GO, ANYTHING ELSE STAY.

J-Walking - Crossing Mid Block
This is not illegal as long as you do not interfere with traffic. That means if you cause a vehicle to alter its course because of your presence on the road (slowing, steering to avoid you) while you are crossing you have broken the law. If you cross the street, never interfere with traffic, you break no laws.

Failing to use crosswalk/crossover
If there are lines on the roadway that indicate where pedestrians are to cross the roadway, you must walk within them; from start to cutting into or out of them. This dictates a straight line across the road. Crosswalks are the lines at intersections and Crossovers are the pedestrian cross sites must commonly known as PXO's. Don't cross within them, you break the law.

Stepping onto the roadway at a PXO in such a way that you do not afford vehicles a chance to stop is also illegal. To properly use a PXO you have to activate the overhead lights, allow vehicles to stop and point your way across the road.

You can not enter onto the roadway to board a streetcar until the streetcar stops.

For our drivers (Right from the Highway Traffic Act)
Every pedestrian who lawfully enters a roadway in order to cross may continue the crossing as quickly as reasonably possible despite a change in the indication he or she is facing and, for purposes of the crossing, has the right of way over vehicles

Analysis of the Toronto pedestrian fatalities of 2009

· Since January 10th, 8 people have lost their lives on Toronto’s roads.

· 7 of those deaths have been pedestrians.

· 5 women and 2 men

· Aged 31 to 80

· They were struck in the morning, evening and night (3 morning, 3 evening, 2 night)

· Good weather, poor weather, daylight and darkness

· Small vehicles to the largest ones on our roads

· From our downtown to the suburbs of Toronto

· 4 killed mid block (“Jay Walking”)

· 2 killed at intersections with vehicles turning

· 1 killed at intersection by vehicle proceeding straight

· The only common thread between all of these deaths are Vehicles and Humans

· Vehicles don’t kill or injure by themselves, the humans operating them set their destructive ability in place

· Traffic controls provide a guide for a “right of way”,

· Human situational awareness, sound decisions and common sense dictate if you should take that “right of way”

· Human error is the true cause and blame in all of these collisions.

· Human decisions have dictated the outcomes.

· Human choices have changed so many lives.

Ensuring pedestrian and traffic safety is a priority of the Toronto Police Service.

While we strive to reduce the number of collisions across Toronto, we hope that the perception of our road users is that they are safe.

Statistics show us that Toronto is one of the safest cities in the world for traffic.

In 2009, Toronto saw the fewest number of road deaths in its modern history. Even with only 48 deaths last year, our most vulnerable road users, pedestrians and cyclists, are telling us, “We don’t feel safe.”

We want to change those feelings to reflect the reality that by and large, you are safe on our streets.

Toronto has witnessed unexplained, short term spikes in both death and injury collisions in the past many times. Our belief is this is a spike once again, only with more attention as our neighbours in the GTA have seen the same collisions happening in their jurisdictions.

But it is not the nature of the Toronto Police Service to wait for a short term rise in crime to go away by itself and we will not wait for this to go away by itself either.

Traffic Services and all the Divisions across Toronto are engaging this recent problem by having officers pay special attention to pedestrian and driving offences that put lives unnecessarily at risk.

Enforcement and education are tools that have both been shown to effectively increase safety, reduce lawlessness create better neighbourhoods.

The Toronto Police Service will increase its efforts educate when the opportunity arises and enforce when warranted.

The people of Toronto have told us that enforcement for law breakers needs to be increased to re-establish a sense of civility on our roads so that those who operate within the bounds of safety and cooperation are the norm, not the exception.

Drivers can not operate with a sense of entitlement to our roads with a “me first” attitude.

Pedestrians must not walk with the belief that all drivers will see them and therefore compromise their own safety by not taking ownership and responsibility for their own safety.

Pedestrians can expect that when they interfere with traffic while crossing the road, don’t use crosswalks properly and endanger their own lives and the lives of others that they will be dealt with in the most appropriate manner.

Drivers who don’t make the safe operation of their vehicles paramount can expect to be reminded of the priority of safety through penalties and sanctions.

The Toronto Police Service will strategically position officers where problems have historically occurred or volumes demand action.

Road safety is everyone’s responsibility. It is a responsibility that begins with you and ends with your fellow road users all taking care to cooperate and be safe with each other’s lives.

Marites, Nouhad, Leena, Leovina, Chen, Yonas, Juliette...

You may been know in data analysis and media reports as numbers, but you are sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers to those who love you and for that, the people of Toronto owe it to your memory to learn from the loss of your lives to prevent future deaths from happening.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Another pedestrian killed in GTA

Kenyon Wallace, National Post Published: Tuesday, January 26, 2010

TORONTO - A woman in her 30s became the 14th pedestrian to die on GTA roadways this month after she was struck and killed by an SUV in the city's west end last night.

Police said the woman, 38, was struck by a Dodge Durango travelling northbound on Symington Avenue as it made a left turn onto Davenport Road at around 6:25 p.m.

Sergeant Tim Burrows of Toronto Police Traffic Services said the woman was crossing Davenport at Symington but was walking west of the intersection, outside the crosswalk.

"The light was green for north and south and she was crossing the road with the lights," he said. "Unfortunately, she was a little bit outside the crosswalk, which may have surprised the driver. We're not really sure yet."

Meanwhile yesterday, a Woodbridge man who was hit by a streetcar while crossing Queen Street near Broadview Avenue shortly after midnight Saturday died in hospital.

Read more:
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Saturday, January 23, 2010

11 Fatalities, 11 Days in GTA

Man on crutches fatally injured by dump truck

Pedestrians resumed crossing against red flashing signals in a Riverdale intersection soon after paramedics removed a man’s body just after mid-day Friday.

The 57-year-old, a student at nearby City Adult Learning Centre (CATC), is the GTA’s 10th pedestrian killed on streets within 11 days.

His name was not released.

Toronto Police Traffic Sgt. Tim Burrows said the victim was walking east on the south side of Danforth Ave., on a green light around 11:30 a.m. when he was hit by a large eastbound dump truck that turned south onto Broadview Ave.

His crutches lay next to the body near a sidewalk curb outside a Pizza Pizza outlet.

As a reporter waited on a north sidewalk at the intersection in mid-afternoon, a woman clutching her young son’s hand crossed to the south side, where only a small police chalked cross marked where the pedestrian fell. A cyclist then pedalled north.

Both adults ignored the blinking red-hand-shaped no-crossing signals.

At mid-day, as police took measurements and photos, CALC student Max McGowan, 18, said too many pedestrians “cross when they’re not supposed to.”

CATC guidance counsellor Anita Sachanska said the victim enrolled last week for his next classes.

“I used to see him in the hallway,” she said, adding “he was very friendly ... he said hello to everybody.”

Program leader Ray Wolf said he was “cheerful, but had difficulty getting around” to lower hall classrooms and on nearby streets.

Principal Mike Rethazi said he “made an announcement to the students to be careful when they are out,” then held a staff meeting.

He didn’t know the man, “but we all felt pretty awful. It’s been very traumatic.”

This was the first such fatality at the school, which has more than 2,000 students, Rethazi said.

The school’s flag was lowered to half-mast.

The driver of the Gio Contracting Inc. truck stopped 80 metres south of the intersection, where vehicles were barred by police for about an hour.

This was the fifth pedestrian-vehicle fatality on city streets since Jan. 1, compared to two by the same time in 2009, Burrows said, adding 31 were killed last year.

Three other pedestrians were struck by vehicles in Toronto through the day, none fatally.

• A woman in her 30s hit on an Allen Expressway ramp at Lawrence Ave. around 7 a.m. had head injuries.

• A man stepping off a Bathurst streetcar at College St. had undisclosed minor injuries.

• A woman was clipped by the mirror of a car making a turn at Martin Grove Ave. and Steeles Ave.

“The biggest factor is human error by both pedestrians and drivers,” Burrows said. “And most of these cases seem to happen on days like this, clear skies, good visibility and dry roads.

“It’s everyone’s responsibility,” he said.

Burrows said streets “are only as safe as people choose.”

Investigators asked anyone with information to contact police at 416-808-1900 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-8477.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Heads up, pedestrians

Nine fatalities in nine days

The numbers are shocking — nine pedestrians in the GTA killed in just nine days — and for many in this city, the grim reaper is obvious.

The terrible, evil car.

But as much as the anti-car lobby will not want to hear it, the ones at fault are just as often the pedestrians themselves.

No one wants to blame the victim, and no one would argue that the battle between a person and 1,000 kg of crushing metal is an even one. But that said, too many pedestrians strut about our streets as entitled or distracted or as aggressive as their similarly guilty counterparts behind the wheel.

Heads down, iPods in their ears, running for the bus or their streetcar, protected by their God-given right to step into live traffic while drivers screech to a halt.

Case in point: Wednesday’s early morning fatality in which a woman in her ’30s, dressed in dark clothing, attempted to cross Dufferin St., just south of Eglinton Ave. W., not at the lights but at a point where the driver in a blue minivan had no ability to see her until it was too late.

“It doesn’t make any sense to me,” says Toronto Police Const. Hugh Smith. By crossing mid-block, he adds, you’re “literally taking your life in your hands.”

Contrary to what most of us have always assumed, the traffic services officer says there is no law against jaywalking in Ontario. Instead, pedestrians are allowed to cross as long as the coast is clear.

But that doesn’t mean you can dart across the street and expect that oncoming traffic will be able to stop in time.

Jaywalkers, though, seem to think they can.

“In many cases, they feel they’re the pedestrians and cars have an obligation to stop for them and they can just go,” says Joanne Banfield, manager of trauma prevention programs at Sunnybrook hospital.

“That’s why one of our messages is, ‘You may have the right of way, but you may end up being dead right.’”

Together with the Toronto Area Safety Coalition, Sunnybrook launched iNavigait in October to promote better pedestrian safety awareness, with their motto: “Cross the street as if your life depends on it.”

Pedestrian injuries and fatalities spike with the shorter daylight hours between November and late February, with seniors being the most vulnerable, Banfield says. Last year, 19 of the 31 pedestrians killed in Toronto were over 65.

She advises pedestrians to be more visible by wearing brighter colours, make eye contact with drivers before crossing and always wait until the walking person icon appears on the signal before stepping off the curb.

“A lot of people are not paying attention as they’re crossing. They’re having conversations or they’re listening to music with ear buds in their ears or they’re texting or they’re looking for their bus,” Banfield says. “Pedestrians have to take responsibility for their actions as well.”

Run off his feet these last nine days, Const. Smith lays the blame for the recent carnage as much on pedestrians as he does on motorists. Of the four recent fatalities in Toronto, two involved errors made by those who were struck and killed: Wednesday’s jaywalking accident on Dufferin and on Jan. 12, an 80-year-old woman who died after crossing when drivers had the right of way at Dundas St. W. and Roncesvalles Ave.

As a longtime officer with traffic services, he’s seen the guilty on both sides: The distracted drivers who have mowed down pedestrians while barrelling through their right turns on red lights and pedestrians getting clipped as they tried bolting across live traffic lanes in a dangerous game of leapfrog. Each is in their own cocoon, equally oblivious to the other.

“There’s responsibility on both parts,” Smith says of drivers and pedestrians. “There’s complacency and poor choices on both sides. To me it’s totally equal.”

There is no magic bullet, he says. No easy solution. Instead, it’s about everyone stepping out of their respective bubbles and communicating like human beings again: being considerate, making eye contact, respecting each other.

“Unfortunately our society is in too much of a hurry and pedestrians and drivers aren’t paying attention,” agrees Banfield, who is also chairman of the Toronto Area Safety Coalition. “Society really needs to slow down.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Greater GTA (Suburban Toronto) more deadly for pedestrians, study shows


TORONTO From Saturday's Globe and Mail

A recent spate of roadside pedestrian deaths - a mother killed pushing her infant son, an 80-year-old woman crossing the street - has raised questions about how dangerous Toronto really is for people on foot.

In spite of the heavy traffic that clogs the city's downtown, pedestrians are more likely to be mowed down by vehicles outside the core, according to statistics provided by the Toronto police.

Etobicoke, North York and Scarborough all proved deadlier than central Toronto over the past three years: More people were killed overall in the outer boroughs as the open suburban streets with their widely spaced intersections transformed into mini-highways in the minds of motorists, and, in some cases, pedestrians failed to follow the rules of the road.

Last year saw a total of 19 pedestrian deaths in those outer regions compared with 12 downtown - a picture similar to previous years. And despite the heavy foot traffic downtown, some of the most dangerous intersections for making right turns and hitting pedestrians were north of the city's hub.

"Even though there are not as many pedestrians out there, when there is a collision in those outskirts it's usually pretty horrific," said Constable Hugh Smith of Traffic Services.

Just two weeks into the new year, there have been grim reminders of how fragile life can be walking the streets of Toronto and beyond. Marites Mendoza was pronounced dead soon after ambulances arrived at Martin Grove Road and Eglinton Avenue on Tuesday afternoon. She was pushing her seven-week-old son in a stroller when a Toyota Camry driven by an 83-year-old woman allegedly ran a red light. The child survived.

On the same day, an 80-year-old woman was struck and killed by a car at Dundas Street West and Roncesvalles Avenue as she crossed the intersection with her 42-year-old son outside the pedestrian-designated area, police said.

Such tragedies raise questions about road design and what can be done to get motorists and pedestrians to slow down. Constable Smith said that in areas such as the Beach, heavy pedestrian traffic coupled with more crosswalks, traffic lights and speed bumps force drivers to move more slowly and to increase their awareness.

But the outskirts are built for cars, not necessarily people. The roads are wider, more difficult to cross, and the cars move that much faster. The two most common ways pedestrians are injured? Cars rushing through left or right turns where pedestrians are moving along the crosswalk, and pedestrians crossing against the signal or illegally walking into the roadway.

"Everything is preventable to me. All collisions are preventable," Constable Smith said. He added that police are working on a road-safety information campaign, targeting groups such as seniors and high-school students.

Dylan Reid, co-chair of the Toronto Pedestrian Committee, a citizens advisory group, wants more done. Outside the core, he's noticed the lines on crosswalks have faded and cars drive above the speed limit. As a result, drivers have less time to react when pedestrians rush in front of their cars.

"It's frustrating to think that there are lots of things that can be done to make walking much safer in Toronto. The city knows what needs to be done, and the city has said it wants to do them, but these things are happening very slowly," Mr. Reid said.

Pedestrian advocates said time is of the essence as baby boomers age and are eventually forced to abandon their vehicles. The number of seniors killed in traffic accidents continues to climb: About 60 per cent of pedestrian fatalities last year were among those over 65, compared with 44 per cent the previous year.

Mike Brady, manager of traffic safety for Toronto Transportation Services, said the city has almost completed the pedestrian countdown signal program and is moving to put more markings on crosswalks. He noted that the number of pedestrians injured in motor-vehicle collisions has remained relatively constant over the past few years, even as the population has increased.

"The city is doing the best it can to mitigate these [accidents]," Mr. Brady said. "The pedestrians themselves are more aware of the risks of walking across the street, and motorists also are more aware."


Dangerous crossings

Here are the top 10 Toronto intersections where collisions have occurred as a result of vehicles making right turns and striking pedestrians crossing with and without the right of way, resulting in serious injury.

1. Bathurst St and

Finch Ave W

2. Birchmount Rd and

Sheppard Ave E

3. Bathurst St and

King St W

4. McCowan Rd and

Sheppard Ave E

5. Yonge St and

Finch Ave E

6. Sheppard Ave E and

Parkway Forest Dr

7. Dundas St W and

Spadina Ave

8. Weston Rd and

Finch Ave W

9. Gerrard St E

and Main St

10. Bloor St W and

Lansdowne Ave


2009: 31*

Downtown core: 12

Etobicoke: 2

North York: 11

Scarborough: 6

*includes 19 seniors (65+)


2007: 2,295

2008: 2,059

2009: 2,025

*ranges from fatalities to small bumps

~~Editor's Note~~
Pedestrians and drivers need to take more responsibility for shared road safety. Pedestrians should continually assess their safety as they cross the street and never assume that their right of way gaurantees safety. Look in all directions before you proceed onto a roadway and continue to look. Drivers need to be more aware of their surroundings, never turn your vehicle without looking in the direction you intend to go and scan the entire area around your path of travel.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Baby saved by an angel. Passerby rescues boy as mom killed by car

A quick-thinking woman is being credited with saving the life of a 12-week-old boy, scooping him to safety from the carnage of an accident that killed his 28-year-old mom.

The woman came dangerously close to being struck herself over the noon-hour yesterday at Martin Grove Rd. and Eglinton Ave. W. where a car plowed into the mom who was pushing her baby in a stroller.

“That woman is a hero in my eyes,” Const. Hugh Smith said yesterday at the scene.

“In all the confusion, people could easily have left the child lying there in the cold and who knows what might have happened,” he said.

“But she had the presence of mind to pick him up and get him to a warm place.”

The tot was taken to hospital but he is expected to be okay.

Police downplayed earlier reports that the mother had, in a last desperate act, shoved the stroller to safety just as she was run down.

“It may have been a last-ditch effort by the mother to save her child,” Smith said, but added it was unlikely she had enough time.

“It really doesn’t make a difference,” Smith said. “We still have a mother who has perished from this and a young child who is motherless.”

The pedestrian was crossing with the light from the southwest corner to the southeast around 12:40 p.m. when she was killed.

Smith said she passed the centre median and walked by a car that was waiting to turn left, pushing her child in front of her, when a northbound Toyota Camry driven by an 83-year-old woman plowed into her.

“She failed to stop at the light and struck the mother and the child in the stroller,” Smith said.

“The child was knocked out of the stroller onto the ground and the mother was pinned beneath the vehicle and dragged into the middle of the intersection,” he said.

The woman died at the scene about 15 minutes later.

Police were still trying to track down family members late in the day.

The road was dry at the time of the accident. But Smith said the sunshine may have been a factor, especially if the elderly woman’s window’s were dirty.

He said the motorist, who was “in shock,” will face charges.

The intersection was closed all afternoon, as were the ramps from nearby Hwy. 27 to eastbound Eglinton.

Witnesses are asked to call investigators at 416-808-1900, or Crime Stoppers at 416-222-TIPS.

Reposted from the Toronto Sun, Wednesday, January 13, 2010, Original article click here.