THUNDER BAY – NEWS – Marit Stiles, Leader of the Official Opposition, and Ontario NDP MPP Lise Vaugeois (Thunder Bay—Superior North) brought to light the pressing issue of road safety in Northern Ontario. They criticized the Conservative government’s lack of action in addressing the rising number of traffic-related fatalities in the region, highlighting the loss of five lives in the past month alone.
Stiles expressed deep concern over the frequent closures of Highways 11 and 17 due to tragic accidents. “Nearly every day, we see Highways 11 and 17 closed due to a tragic collision. The situation has spiralled so far out of control that people are scared to drive to work or to drop their kids off at school”.
“Again and again, the NDP has come up with common-sense solutions for this Ford government to implement and save lives, and they’ve ignored every single one. While the Ford Government is asleep at the wheel, Northern Ontarians are paying with their lives. They cannot afford to wait,” added Stiles.
She emphasized the growing fear among residents about road safety, stating, “Five deaths within the past month would be unimaginable in Southern Ontario and should serve as a wake-up call. The NDP has repeatedly offered practical solutions to the Ford government, yet they remain unheeded. The inaction is costing Northern Ontarians their lives.”
Vaugeois added to this, referencing consultations with truckers, road users, and victims’ families. She pointed out that the recent Auditor General’s report confirms long-standing concerns. Vaugeois stressed the lack of alternative routes in Northern Ontario, underlining the dire need for immediate action to prevent further loss of life.
“We’ve been working with truckers, other road users, and victims’ families – who else does Ford need to hear from? The recent Auditor General’s report affirmed everything people have been saying for years. These issues are not new… the Conservatives simply choose not to listen,” Vaugeois said. “Unfortunately, we don’t have other highways to bypass accidents and bad road conditions. We cannot continue to lose lives.”
Proposed Solutions by the Ontario NDP:
- Implementing “Chad’s Law”: This would prohibit overtaking another vehicle moving in the same direction on highways, enhancing road safety.
- 24/7 Truck Inspection Station Staffing: Ensuring constant monitoring of commercial drivers and vehicles for safety and competency.
- Standardized Snow Removal: Matching the snow removal standards of Northern Ontario highways to those of significant routes in Southern Ontario.
- Improved Trucking School Regulations: Strengthening the regulations around trucking schools and enhancing the training process monitoring.