Toronto City Council has agreed to adopt a new version of Vision Zero in a further attempt to prevent fatalities on the roads. Vision Zero, a plan first approved by the Swedish parliament 22 years ago and consequently adopted by countries across the globe, has been in place for the past three years in Toronto. As well as addressing the problem of distracted and dangerous drivers on the road, Vision Zero aims to improve street layouts and road structures in order to reduce the risk of accidents. In Toronto, Vision Zero’s revised implementation will involve further speed limits, more sidewalks and improved signalling throughout the city.
Reviewing Routes for Larger Vehicles
After a cyclist was killed by a cement truck last summer, residents in Hamilton have asked the council to remember the aims of Vision Zero when they undertake a review of truck routes. Currently, trucks are taking shortcuts away from designated routes, and this is placing pedestrians and other road users in danger. Some roads aren’t suitable for larger trucks, and it’s vital that drivers are aware of the size of their vehicle for this reason.
This applies not only to truckers but also to drivers of RVs. With some modern RVs up to 50 feet in length, roads with weight limits and steep grades can cause them difficulties. However, as well as being larger, today’s RVs are also fitted with additional modernised technologies. Roving Wi-Fi allows for the use of the latest SatNavs designed specifically for larger rigs. These can store the size and weight of the vehicle in order to present a customized route for greater safety.
Targeting Distracted and Dangerous Driving
Of course, adjusting a SatNav while driving constitutes distracted driving, and a convicted driver will face a fine $1,000, three demerit points and a suspended licence. These penalties may seem harsh; however, in Ontario, someone is injured every half an hour because of distracted driving. In response, Toronto police will be out in force over the next few weeks with 300 extra shifts targeting specific areas. Already this year, 24 people have lost their lives on the roads of Toronto. It is hoped that initiatives like this, together with the Vision Zero plan, intend to put a stop to these senseless deaths.
With so many injuries and fatalities on the roads of Ontario, police are stepping up patrols to target distracted and aggressive drivers over the summer. These increased patrols, coupled with safer street plans, could help the province reach its goal of zero deaths on the road.