In 2005, almost half of all motor vehicle-related fatalities in Ontario involved drivers who were speeding or lost control of the vehicle.
Ontario Road Safety Annual Report 2005
While the total number of fatalities on Ontario's roads fell for a third consecutive year in 2005, the number of fatalities that involved speeding or losing control of a motor vehicle rose from 345 in 2004 to 366 in 2005, an increase of about six per cent.
We also saw a small but disturbing increase in the number of fatalities among pedestrians — from 104 in 2004 to 105 in 2005.
There is encouraging news about young drivers, who are traditionally over-represented in traffic crashes. The number of fatalities among drivers aged 16-19 decreased by 7, from 38 in 2004 to 31 in 2005, and the number of injuries decreased from 3,140 in 2004 to 3,077 in 2005.
Collisions involving speeding, pedestrians and young drivers are a perennial concern for the Ministry of Transportation and its road safety partners. The success that Ontario has had in reducing motor vehicle-related fatalities and injuries in recent years demonstrates that our commitment to improving road safety is making Ontario's roads safer. At the same time, the results of ORSAR 2005 also clearly show that more needs to be done to improve road safety.
ORSAR 2005 also shows the considerable progress Ontario has made towards meeting our commitments under Canada's Road Safety Vision (RSV) 2010, which sets a national target of a 30 per cent decrease in the average number of road users killed or seriously injured during the 2008-2010 period when compared with the baseline period of 1996-2001 average figures.
With the passage of the Transportation Statute Law Amendment Act, 2005 on November 21, 2005, Ontario took steps to address key road safety issues in this province by targeting the worst drivers on our roads and by introducing new measures to ease traffic congestion and increase ridership on public transportation
In 2005, almost half of all motor vehicle-related fatalities in Ontario involved drivers who were speeding or lost control of their vehicle. Research into the causes of motor vehicle collisions indicate that drivers who speed are more likely to kill or injure someone – and the faster someone drives, the greater the chance that they will cause a serious collision. Drivers who drive 30 kilometres per hour (km/h) over the posted speed limit are six times more likely to kill or injure someone while driving than a driver travelling at the speed limit. Drivers speeding 50 km/h or more over the limit are 10 times more likely to cause a collision that kills or injures someone. The evidence is clear – speeding kills.
"Anything we can do to deal with speeding will make our roads safer."
Staff Sergeant Tom Carrique
York Regional Police Service
The provisions of the Transportation Statute Law Amendment Act, 2005, are aimed at increasing road safety by introducing measures that improve driver behaviour. Under the Act, the ministry has raised the fines for drivers convicted of speeding 30-34 km/h over the limit, and introduced longer licence suspensions for repeat offenders caught speeding 50 km/h or more over the posted limit. These measures, which took effect March 31, 2006, also added demerit points to the sanctions for drivers convicted of using speed measuring warning devices (radar detectors), doubled the fines for drivers who speed in construction zones and made it an offence for a driver to disobey a traffic control sign indicating that drivers should stop or slow down when travelling through construction zones or areas where
road work is taking place.
"We support this action to protect the safety of our road workers … we believe it will save lives."
Rob Bradford, Executive Director
The Ontario Road Builders' Association
To help municipalities better manage the speed limits on their roads, the Act includes a provision that gives all municipalities the authority to set the speed limit at 30 km/h where traffic calming measures are in place.
Ontario's past experience shows us that tougher sanctions for traffic offences work – every time we tighten our road safety laws, we get results. Increased fines and sanctions, along with legislative initiatives like giving municipalities the authority to set lower speed limits in construction zones on municipal roads, are aimed at reducing the more than 10,000 collisions that occurred in construction zones between 2001 and 2005, which resulted in the deaths of 33 people.
The Act amended the Highway Traffic Act to make it a provincial offence to pick up passengers for compensation using vehicles that carry less than 10 passengers without:
The offence applies to any person involved in the business of providing a for-hire transportation service without the required licences or permits (e.g., drivers, arrangers of for-hire transportation services and owners of the vehicles).
The penalty for drivers, arrangers and owners is a fine upon conviction ranging from $300 to $20,000. If the fine is not paid, a driver's licence suspension (for drivers and arrangers) or plate denial upon annual/biennial renewal (for owners) also applies.
The illegal taxi provisions came into effect on January 1, 2006.
Everyone can relate to the story of a driver who did not stop or “nearly” ran them down at a crosswalk or intersection. Between 2001 and 2005, the Ministry of Transportation estimates that more than 15,500 pedestrians were killed or injured while crossing the street – many while crossing at traffic lights, crosswalks or school crossings. In 2005, 36 per cent of pedestrian fatalities occurred at, or near, intersections. As with speeding, drivers who fail to stop for pedestrians at crosswalks and school crossings or fail to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians crossing at intersections are a serious problem on our roads.
That is why the Transportation Statute Law Amendment Act, 2005, clarified the requirements for drivers to stop and wait for pedestrians and crossing guards at intersections, pedestrian crosswalks and school crossings. The fines for drivers who fail to stop or yield the right-of-way to pedestrians were increased, as were the number of demerit points assigned to a driver convicted of these offences. While the increased fines (which rose from $60 to a minimum of $150 and a maximum of $500 – doubled if the offence occurred in a community safety zone) are meant to act as a deterrent and impress upon drivers the severity of these offences, the increased demerit points will help the ministry identify and track these drivers. Ministry staff can initiate remedial measures to improve the drivers' behaviour before their careless driving results in a tragedy.