Thursday, April 29, 2010

OPRAH is on my Blog!!

OK, so I cut and pasted a widget onto the blog that has Oprah expressing her wishes that everyone treat
April 30th, 2010 as a day to really make road safety a priority with her "NO PHONE ZONE."

Oprah has teamed up with the Toronto Police Service to push road safety issues to make Toronto safer! Actually she is helping out everyone who shares an interest for safer roads.

The NO PHONE ZONE is a movement to get people to not have a communications device (cell phone, iPhone, BlackBerry...whatever) in your car.

In Ontario it's the law. You have to hands free abilities or a wired set which allows your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel. But is that really enough?

I have said so many times, "It's not the device, it's the distraction." Talking on the phone takes away from the priority of driving and that priority is a huge responsibility! You are driving a couple tonnes of metal down the road which has the potential to injure, maim and kill.

Multi-tasking ability is an asset when you are juggling business projects and emails and spread sheets and so on and so on. Multi-tasking is not an asset when you are driving. There should only be one task...DRIVING SAFELY!!

So, make your vehicle a NO PHONE ZONE on Friday April 30th for Oprah...make your vehicle a NO PHONE ZONE everyday for the rest of us, and yourself. Who knows, you could be saving a life...yours.

Sign the NO PHONE ZONE Pledge by clicking here. There is also a lot of information on the link page

What do you think? Is one day enough to remind everyone or is this something we should be doing everyday.

What's your opinion about Ontario's Distracted Driving Legislation. Did it go to far or not far enough. I would love to know what you think!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Don Valley Parkway closed this weekend for annual spring maintenance

City of Toronto News Release

The City of Toronto's Transportation Services Division will be performing
maintenance activities on the Don Valley Parkway on April 24 and 25. In
order to undertake this work safely, a full closure of the Don Valley
Parkway will be required.

The Don Valley Parkway will be closed in both directions from Highway 401
to the Gardiner Expressway from Saturday, April 24 at 2 a.m. to Monday,
April 26 at 5 a.m.

Specific activities that will be undertaken during this closure include:
. spring catchbasin cleaning (required to ensure proper drainage)
. pavement markings and sign maintenance
. guiderail and asphalt repair
. railway bridge inspection
. ramp realignment for bridge rehabilitation
. closed-circuit television (CCTV) camera maintenance
. installation of a new changeable message sign, and
. expressway sweeping operations and litter removal.

"This is important work that needs to be done to maintain safe travel
conditions on the Don Valley Parkway," said Gary Welsh, General Manager,
Transportation Services. "Motorists should be advised to be patient and
make sure to take extra time to get to and from their destinations."

Motorists can use Victoria Park Avenue, Don Mills Road, Bayview Avenue and
Kingston Road as alternative routes during the closure. Whenever possible,
the public is encouraged to consider using public transit as a convenient

For further information about other road closures, visit the City's
website at

Toronto is Canada's largest city and sixth largest government, and home to
a diverse population of about 2.6 million people. It is the economic
engine of Canada and one of the greenest and most creative cities in North

Toronto has won numerous awards for quality, innovation and
efficiency in delivering public services. Toronto's government is
dedicated to prosperity, opportunity and liveability for all its
residents. For information about non-emergency City services and programs,
Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can dial 311, 24 hours a day, 7
days a week.

~~Editor's Note~~
I recommend that if you normally use this route and you need to come into town, know alternate routes before you venture out. Don't use roads adjacent to the closure...choose instead to go a few majors east or west of the DVP. These will be lighter than the roads immediately in the area.

Best option...PUBLIC TRANSIT. The LRT, Subways, Streetcars aren't in teh closure so they are great options as is GO Transit.

Leave lots of extra time! There WILL BE delays. Don't try to make up time on the roads, create the time before you go.

Other events that are going to cause traffic delays are:
Toronto FC game - Sunday April 25, 2:00 pm
Khalsa Parade - Sunday April 25, 12:30 Lakeshore/York/University/Queens Park
Green Living Show - April 23 - 25, Direct Energy, CNE Grounds

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Child Seat Inspection Clinic and Press Conference

Media and Public Advisory
Toronto Area Child Seat Safety Coalition
Child Seat Inspection Clinic and Press Conference
Thursday April 22, 2010 8:30a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
2525 St. Clair Avenue West, Toronto (Wal-Mart)

Broadcast time: 8:00 a.m.
Wednesday April 21, 2010

Traffic Services

On Thursday April 22, 2010, at 8:30 a.m. the Toronto Area Child Seat Safety Coalition will be conducting a child seat inspection clinic at 2525 St.Clair Ave. West in the Wal-Mart parking lot.

A new public awareness campaign regarding child seat safety will be launched during a 10:30 a.m. press conference by members of the coalition which includes the Ministry of Transportation, Toronto Police, Toronto Fire, Toronto Public Health and York Region Health.

No appointments are necessary for the clinic, but it is advised that vehicles arriving after 12:00 p.m. will be turned away.

It is estimated that 80 to 90 percent of all child seat installations are not done according to vehicle and manufacturer recommendations. The proper installation may greatly reduce the risk of injury or death to a child in the event of a collision.

The Toronto Police Service operates a local phone number, 416-808-1975, which provides information on inspection clinics. Other information can be found on our website, the Ministry of Transportation website and the City of Toronto website.

If you haven't had the opportunity to view this very powerful video, take a minute to do so.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Warn Range Suspensions

I felt like I needed to do a blog post this week but wasn't sure what it was going to be about. There are so many topics to choose from in the world of Traffic Safety. Then the topic was provided to me.
I came into work this morning and received a notice that the Toronto Police Service issued it's first 30 day suspension under the Province's Bill 203 Legislation. That means this one driver, a 30 year old male from Scarborough, has been issued two previous suspensions for registering in the warn range for alcohol in his system while driving.

That's the legislation that recognized driver's who operate a motor vehicle under the legal limit but with alcohol in their system had to be recognized, tracked and made more accountable for their poor choices. As far as all police are concerned, if you drink the choice is simple...DON'T DRIVE!!

Let's review.
The legal limit to operate a motor vehicle under the Criminal Code of Canada is .08. In normal terms that means there are 80 milligrams of alcohol in 100 milliliters of blood of the tested subject. Anything over that warrants a charge of Drive Over 80 mgs.

The warn range is the area between .05 and .079.

Prior to May 1, 2009 the suspensions were 12 hours and you could pick up your licence at a police station after the 12 hours passed. On May 1st last year, Bill 203 took effect which created sanctions for those persons who registered readings in the Warn Range.

For a 1st time instance in that range, you will receive a 3 day licence suspension. Your licence is forwarded to the Ministry of Transportation.

For a 2nd instance: driver suspended for seven days and must undergo remedial alcohol education program
Third or subsequent instance: driver suspended for 30 days, must undergo remedial alcohol treatment program and have ignition interlock condition on their licence for six months.

This legislation, agree with it or not, is extremely important to the protection of the public and forwarding road safety measures.

Benefits of Bill 203 (The drinking and driving part of it)
First, it allows for the tracking of drivers who have registered breath readings in this area. Those drivers who choose to drink and drive are considered high risk road offenders in that action alone. Now, we can get a better picture of how many of those drivers continue to put all of us at risk with their potentially deadly choices.

Second, it allows for a measure of prevention. I know I don't want to risk losing my licence for 3 days, let alone having that on my divers abstract...did I mention that? Sorry, each time that you register in that range, it goes on your drivers abstract...can you imagine what insurance companies think about drivers who are considered high risk?
Finally, the legislation makes it possible to educate those people who not only self identify as high risk road users, but creates an opportunity for those persons to be educated as to the dangers of their choices.

Now, before you start talking about the government and the police are taking away all your fun, remember, it's not illegal to drink if you are of legal drinking age. It's not even illegal to drink before driving. It is illegal to drink too much before driving. You are your own liquor control board. So the choice is 100% up to you.

Our message is simple if you want to drink, go ahead, but if you are going to be driving have a plan not to drive and stick with it. Public transit, cabs, designated drivers, hotels are all great options and a lot less expensive than defending yourself against criminal charges, tow bills and the real price that would be paid if you kill or injure yourself or others.

What do you think? Do you like the legislation, feel it's too harsh or maybe that it doesn't go far enough. Let me know.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Provincial Seatbelt Campaign

Traffic Safety continues to be a priority of the Toronto Police Service.

The 2010 Provincial Seat Belt Campaign, with the full support of the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police, is a combined public awareness and enforcement campaign aimed at getting more drivers and passengers to buckle up. Using seat belts is proven to be an effective way to reduce vehicle related injuries and fatalities.

Minister of Transportation, Kathleen Wynne, will be joined by Margaret Best, Minister of Health Promotion, O.P.P. Chief Superintendent Bill Grodzinski, Toronto Police Inspector Gord Jones and Safe Kids Canada, Kristen Gane.

Two students from Leaside High School, along with Minister Wynne will be spray painting a mural reminding motorists to “Buckle Up”, which will be hung at the kick off location.

It is estimated that, for every 1% increase in seat belt use, five lives are saved in Ontario every year.

The spring seat belt campaign will focus on drivers who fail to properly secure their children safely. Child Safety Seat clinics have shown that 80% of car seats are installed or used incorrectly.

All police officers will pay particular attention to the proper restraint of all vehicle occupants, including young children, by ensuring the proper use of child restraints.

Some of the offences Toronto Police Officers will be looking for are:

• Drive with seat belt removed/inoperative/modified
• Driver − fail to properly wear seat belt
• Drive while passenger under 16 fails to occupy position with seat belt
• Passenger − fail to properly wear seat belt
• Drive while passenger under 16 fails to properly wear seat belt.
• Fail to ensure infant properly secured
• Fail to ensure toddler properly secured
• Fail to ensure child properly secured

Seatbelt infractions issued by a police officer have a set fine amount of $240 and upon conviction drivers will be assessed 2 demerit points against their license.

For more information on Child Safety Seats, click here.

Traffic Services is dedicated to ensuring the safe and orderly movement of traffic within the City of Toronto. Stay informed with what’s happening at Traffic Services by following us on Twitter (TrafficServices), and Facebook (Toronto Police – Traffic Services).

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Value of Social Media in Law Enforcement

I wrote this post for, where it was first posted. See the original here.

This is certainly not the “All traffic - all the time” post that you would normally expect me to write. Although, yes there will be traffic stuff in here. This is a post about why I do so much work in the Social Media Medium (SMM) and why you should be interested in it.

Now, let’s be realistic. In terms of ‘so much work in SMM’ I am a newbie, an amateur and ‘quiet’ compared to some of the rockstars that I follow. People like Amber Macarthur (@ambermac), Scott Stratten (@unmarketing), Chris Brogan (@chrisbrogan) and a few others that have nothing to do with law enforcement. Pioneers in the use Social Media for Law Enforcement like Scott Mills (@grafittibmxcop), Warren Bulmer (@warren_bulmer), Lauri Stevens (@lawscomm) and Christa Miller (@christammiller). So what qualifies me to write about it? Passion (more on that in a bit). I love the SMM and the doors that it has opened for me.

As Sgt. Tim Burrows of the Toronto Police Service, my ability to reach out to the community is limited by the timing and reception of the main stream media (MSM). If the MSM is busy with breaking news or full of their mandated or preferred content my message is not going to go anywhere. Further, due to things that are out of my control and in many cases journalists control, like editing and questions that I can’t finesse into my message, my intended message can be lost. Enter Social Media (TA DA!).

As anyone of my SMM identities that I use on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Blogger and several more, I can message when I want, about what I want and in as much detail or frequency as I choose. Enough about’s all about YOU! Remember I said passion earlier? it is. I’m a cop that believes in the motto “To Serve and Protect” deeply. I am a servant to the citizens of Toronto and the Toronto Police Service. I want to do mart part to help the Toronto Police Service accomplish their mission, “ make Toronto the best and safest place to be. I can best do that where I have any control or influence. For me, that’s talking about traffic safety (Woo Hoo, he’s back to traffic stuff).

My goal is simple in philosophy, but difficult in attainment. Why? I don’t have nearly as much control over it as YOU do. Your choices and behaviours dictate the accomplishment of my goal which is, “To reduce collisions, injuries and death in Toronto”.

So why set a goal that I can’t control? Because it is in YOUR best interest. If something I Tweet, post, upload or tag can benefit you, influence your behaviour or change your attitude then we ALL benefit. Just think, if the approximately 2 Billion dollars that gets funneled to the cover the societal costs of traffic collisions could be redirected to benefit hungry children, abused women, senior care and cancer research. Right now those monies go to insurance claims, injury treatment and rehabilitation, economic cost of transportation stop-ages, investigation, court process’ and many, many more hard and soft, direct and indirect costs.

Alcohol, drugs, occupant restraint infractions, extreme and distracted driving all lead to collisions, injury and death. Try to argue that with me and you will only show your own lack of research ability.

So when I can remind you of that in any way I can, we all can benefit. When you choose to ‘buy into’ my messages we all will benefit. Now, here is an added benefit. The messages that surround traffic safety don’t just affect Toronto. Those messages apply to nearly the entire world. Don’t drink and drive, slow down to see more, wear your seatbelt, be a cooperative driver, watch for pedestrians and cyclists, obey the rules of the road, etc, etc, etc, you get it. Here is one more reason. We are all traffic. Yup no matter what you think you are part of traffic. The movement of people and goods. Pedestrian, check. Cyclist, check. Transit user, check. Driver, check. Mobility challenged, check.

So here is my unabashed apologies for this one because I think I said why it would be beneficial. Find me on SM, friend, follow, join me. Then share what I have to say, if you find value in it, add your own comments, tell me what you think would help all of us. While you are at, join my friends that I mentioned. Each have value that can add to your lives. I wouldn’t plug them here if they didn’t. = Toronto Police - Traffic Services Highway Patrol

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Beach Easter Parade - Road Closures

Toronto Police News Release Re-Post

Broadcast time: 06:00 Friday, April 2, 2010

Special Events 416−808−5053

Annual Beaches Easter Parade, Queen Street East, Sunday, April 4, 2010, 2 p.m., Road closures

On Sunday, April 4, 2010, the annual Beaches Easter Parade will take place at 2 p.m.

The procession will start from Queen Street East and Munro Park Avenue, and continue along Queen Street East to Woodbine Avenue.

As a result of this event, a full road closure will take place on Queen Street East, and on parts of Nursewood Road, Woodbine Avenue and Lakeshore Boulevard East. A number of secondary roads will also be closed or partially closed, affecting traffic flow.

Road closures:

Queen Street East (partial road) Munro Park Avenue to Fallingbrook Road, from 10 a.m. to noon.

Queen Street East (full road) Munro Park Avenue to Fallingbrook Road, and Nursewood Road (full road) Queen Street East to 24 Nursewood Road, from noon to 1:30 p.m.

Queen Street East (full road) Woodbine Avenue to Fallingbrook Road, from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Woodbine Avenue (full road) Queen Street East to Lakeshore Boulevard East Lakeshore Boulevard East (full road) Coxwell Avenue to Woodbine Avenue, from 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The TTC will be re−routing buses / street cars during the event.

This event will take place regardless of weather conditions. Members of the public should anticipate significant traffic issues.

P.S. - The traffic cone monster was not in the original TPS Release...that was my own little touch of humour.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Project Spring Clean Up - Results

Dozens of police officers swept the streets clean of unsafe commercial vehicles as part of the two-day Project Spring Cleanup.The third annual joint law-enforcement-services operation saw over half the commercial vehicles pulled over and inspected at Woodbine Racetrack taken out of service by officers.

The focus of the blitz was to ensure pickups, cube vans and tractor-trailers are operated safely and have proper documentation.“Keeping vehicles safe on the roads saves people’s lives and prevents horrific injuries from occurring,” 23 Division Supt. Ron Taverner said, of the reasons behind 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.Vehicle inspection numbers:

Total Vehicles checked – 358
Highway Traffic Act/Commercial Motor Vehicle Charges – 247
Vehicles taken out of service – 172
Transporting Dangerous Good charges – 4 (Improper training, insecure loads)
Contraband cigarettes charge – 1
Arrests – 4
(Marijuana possession – 2, Obstruct police – 1, Fail to Comply with Bail Conditions – 1)