Monday, December 17, 2012

Are you one of the Seven Dwarfs?.....Sleepy?

So it is Monday morning, the beginning of a new work week. You have had a great weekend with friends and family, far too much fun and not enough sleep.  The day ahead is full of meetings and you are exhausted.  But you think you will be fine, you have driven to work like this before, it is not a big deal.


Driving requires your full attention, you must be alert at all times, as if someones life depends on it. Well it does.  The 60 kilometer average commute to Toronto from the suburbs takes over an hour, this is not accounting for any collisions or traffic delays that may occur.  Rush hour traffic is the bane of our existence. As you sit there stuck behind a vehicle, and you haven't moved in 30 seconds or you are at a traffic light and have been sitting still for a minute. Your eyes start to get heavy, you think that you can shut them for a few seconds, it's not a big deal.


Everyone deals with schedules that are far too busy, and there are not enough hours in the day to get things done.  Shopping, taking the kids to extracurricular activities appointments and any of 100 other things.  So you stay up later getting that work done, sacrificing your sleep trying to free up time for other things you need to do.  You will just get more sleep on the weekend, make up for the sleep you have missed, it's not a big deal.


Adults require 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Studies have shown that lack of sleep can lead to serious health issues and put your safety and the safety of individuals around you at risk. Lack of sleep is also associated with an increased risk of motor vehicle collisions and other serious health concerns.

I ask you, do you want to be responsible for the injury or death of a person?

You are probably thinking that it won't happen to you.


A person who suffers a microsleep episode is usually unaware of it, or believes that they just weren't paying attention.  

A microsleep is an episode of sleep which may last for a fraction of a second or up to thirty seconds.

Microsleeps can be caused by a number of things and sleep deprivation is one of them. Microsleep episodes can be very dangerous when they occur while operating a vehicle. Assume a vehicle is travelling on a highway at 100 km/h (27.7 meters per second) and an individual suffers an episode that lasts 30 seconds, it would be the equivalent of driving a vehicle blindfolded for 831 meters.

Is that a chance you want to take?

If you find yourself in a situation where you are exhausted and are getting drowsy while operating a vehicle, find a safe place to stop so you can take a nap. Let your family know that you are stopping and will be late so they are not concerned for your well being.

The safest choice would be to find a hotel or motel and stay the night.

Be a responsible road user, help yourself to be a safer, more productive person and do your part to keep everyone safe.


Friday, December 14, 2012

What is your life worth!!!!

Dispatcher: Police, Fire or Ambulance?

Caller: Send everything!!!!!.....

Dispatcher: What is your emergency?

Caller: A car has crashed, it was going the wrong way!!!! People are injured. It looks really bad!!!! Please hurry!!!!

This is the type of call emergency personnel don't want to answer, but it is the type of call that is received all too often. The outcome can be a life altering or life ending event. Alcohol is usually a factor in these types of collisions. The trauma that families of victims and victims themselves face when they or someone they know have been involved is tremendous. In Ontario .080 mgs of alcohol in 100 ml of blood, is the point at which an individual may be charged with a drinking and driving offence. Physical impairment can begin even lower, as a result a charge of impaired operation of a motor vehicle may be laid, if evidence of an offence exists.
The cost for an impaired driving defence is approximately $18,000 (not including taxes).

The total social cost for a fatality in Ontario is approximately $13.7 million.

I ask you, what is your life worth?

Drinking and driving is a choice. The next time you go out, make the right choice, don't drink and drive. Arrange for a designated driver, taxi or use public transit. If you see someone operating a vehicle and believe they are impaired call 911. As a road using community we can work together to put an end to impaired driving. CS~

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Traffic safety and what it means to the Toronto Police Service

Traffic safety is a priority for the Toronto Police Service.  Traffic Services has been mandated to investigate serious personal injury and fatal collisions in the city of Toronto.  

On Monday December 10, 2012 the Toronto Police Service answered 8 calls in 43 minutes beginning at 6:41 am and ending at 7:24 am, for pedestrian struck collisions.  Certain events that have occurred since these collisions have inspired me to write this Blog.

During this time period a number of contributing factors became evident and as a result this information was relayed via Twitter to the media and general public in order to promote pedestrian safety. We are offering advice to people on situations that we are dealing with and our experience on what we encounter.

The factors were as follows:

1) Poor lighting conditions (pre-dawn hours)
2) Driver error
3) Wet roads
4) Rain 
5) Pedestrians wearing clothing that in the dark made them hard, if not impossible, for drivers to see

These factors resulted in collisions.  Statements taken from drivers at the scene as well information received by the call takers at the communications center made clear mention of two common factors. The pedestrians were wearing dark clothing and the drivers did not see them.  

We are telling the public what the drivers who were involved have stated as fact.  They did not see the pedestrians. It is hard to believe that anyone operating a motor vehicle would intentionally strike a pedestrian.  A number of the pedestrians in fact did nothing wrong and the drivers were charged. There are no regulations in law that direct a person as to what they may or may not wear, collision facts speak for themselves and the Toronto Police Service will not tell a person what to wear. 

Vehicles, whether they are bicycles, cars, or trucks, are required by the Highway Traffic Act to have reflectors, horns, lighting, and other safety equipment in order to make themselves visible to other road users and to protect the operators.  Pedestrians have no such regulation and as a result are vulnerable road users.  In the perfect world there would be no collisions. 

I have spoken to cyclists today and they have also voiced concern over individuals using Martin Goodman Trail whether they were pedestrians, runners or cyclists dressed in dark clothing and while travelling poorly lit sections of the trail, almost striking these individuals.

In reality collisions are a caused occurrence and are a direct result of someone making an error.

I haven't missed a winter since I was born 41 years ago.  We always buy clothing that protects us from the elements.  But when do we use our snow boots...... when it snows, when do we use our gloves, hat, scarf, and winter jacket with the hood....... when it gets really cold.  Our environment changes rapidly during the fall and winter, our habits however don't, we continue to cross the roadways like it is a summer day while wearing our winter gear.

On November 30, 2012, the GTA recorded its first significant snowfall. Drivers who haven't driven in the snow for almost two years were literally stopped in their tracks. 

I ask the road using community as a whole to be cautious. 

Drivers, slow down, take a second look and proceed only when it is safe to do so.

Pedestrians, be aware of your surroundings and do what we were taught when we were children: stop, look, listen and think before you cross the roadways. Wear an article of clothing that would make you more conspicuous to other road users. 

Cyclists, obey all traffic laws and help protect yourself. 

One life lost or injured is one too many. 

Do your part to protect yourself.


Thursday, January 19, 2012

2012 Shorty Awards

Well, the Shorty Awards are upon us once again. I love these awards as they really point towards the best that Twitter has to offer.

Last year, @TrafficServices was a finalist for the Nokia Connecting People category which was won by the amazing Shannon Miller. For me, just to be nominated was be a finalist, that was more than I could have imagined.

This year, @TrafficServices has been nominated again, this time in the category, #LifeSavingHero presented by The Weather Channel. WOW!! Nominated again. I give a huge thanks for the nomination. But, me...a life saving hero? Not a chance.

You see, my job with this account is to communicate traffic safety and raise the awareness of the importance of traffic safety in our everyday lives. I sit at a computer for the most part and share information through social media to do that. I type, watch videos, read articles, interpret research and pass the info I see along. Not really a tough job and the biggest risk I face are paper cuts, headaches and vision problems. I go to community meetings and share my passion for traffic safety and try to get people to buy into the importance that traffic safety plays in the lives of each and everyone of us.

But call me a life saving hero? I can't in good conscience live up to that moniker. Here's why.
Looking at my industry of policing, there are men and women everyday who respond to the call for service by going places that they know are dangerous. They deal with people they know wish to do them harm. They investigate the worst that society has to offer and they are willing each and every time the walk out the door to sacrifice themselves to protect you and your family. Men and women who mine the Internet for pedophile's to save victims and prevent re-victimization.

They are life saving heroes.

When I think about life saving heroes, I have to also look at our military service men and women who have pledged their lives to protect us. Who walk into the theatre of battle to stand up for what is right, protect those that cannot protect themselves and to ensure we sleep well and safe at night. The bomb techs and bio-techs that inspect and neutralize bombs and hazardous substances meant to terrorize plague.

They are life saving heroes.

Life saving heroes can be found in hospitals and universities. Doctors that treat the critically injured. Stand for hours with their hands and minds inside bodies to repair damage done through trauma and disease. Researchers that are finding treatments and working towards cures that improve, extend and yes, save our lives.

They are life saving heroes.

Volunteers that at a moments notice, drop everything they are doing, leave their jobs and families behind to work in areas that are devastated by famine, natural disasters, man-made disasters and lands that are controlled to the point the poorest and most needy face death because they can't get water and food.

They are life saving heroes.

Pilots who land damaged planes with hundreds of people on board who are just trying to get back to their loved ones.

They are life saving heroes.

A cop that uses social media as pretty much the only part of his job? Nope...not a life saving hero, but incredibly grateful for what I get to do and humbled by your thoughts.

Like I said in the beginning, I love the Shorty Awards and I will definitely be casting my nominations for the people that I think are the best of the best and I hope you all do the same!  Find the awesome people in your social world and let them be seen for what they do!