No doubt my column, “vehicle crashes on some of Ontario’s busiest highways,” will rattle some feathers however, until matters are looked at massive accidents will continue to happen.
“It’s a regular occurrence and it’s getting worse,” says OPP Commissioner Vince Hawkes. “Fatal crashes on some of Ontario’s busiest highways are happening not because of the safe drivers but because of the inattentive, distracted drivers.” Hawke further stated “I’m putting the Trucking Industry on notice after a series of fatal crashes. A call has been ordered for an Inquest into accidents involving large trucks. Calls are being made to stop these types of accidents.”
In 2004 in Sarnia Lambton, a spike in weekly accidents on the 402 Highway involving transport trucks with a fatality appeared to ignite the Provincial government to change the speed limit from 100 to 80 km on the concerned stretch between Modeland Road to the Blue Water Bridge. What were regular accidents, now appeared to diminish. However, in 2013 after numerous complaints of speeding tickets and a public outcry that the speed should be increased back to the 100-km speed, the Province raised the limits and with that, accidents began to happen again with the diversion of traffic through the city.
The Fed’s blamed the United States for not moving traffic quicker, MPP’s blamed the Province for not having proper warning signs. Recently OPP have been monitoring the highway more. Numerous tickets have been handed out and it has been stated that because of the OPP visibility, accidents are down. However, there are costs to have the highways patrolled 24/7 and no doubt once the visibility is removed or minimized, it’s my opinion that accidents will happen again.
Recently Highway 21 has been partially closed due to road repairs where we are seeing truck traffic on Lakeshore Road increased drastically. With that comes the noise of Jake breaks and stones hitting vehicles as some of those roads are not wide enough to handle the truck traffic. Foul language is in full swing by many, me being one of them. Nothing worse than the sound of stones hitting your windshield or your vehicle. Like everything else, it’s a few bad apples that are giving the rest a bad name.
Highway accidents are not just happening with trucks, nor are they just happening locally. On August 26th, 2017, Steve Atchison and his wife Joanne of Lambton Shores lost their son, 22-year-old Traves following a violent two-vehicle crash near Miller Lake. Three others were killed as well. It’s something no family should ever have to go through. For my family, only a few short years ago my partner while working for the OPP, was responding to an accident on the highway only to be involved in another accident. Every year the memory of his entangled cruiser plays on my mind. In Wiarton, a Facebook page has been started “Let’s fix Hwy 6” as safety is a top priority for many.
Winter is approaching and again we will see the nasty weather. We already had one snowfall and it appeared that people forgot how to drive. I know many will say that slow drivers create accidents. Don’t miss the point—speeding, driving too close, texting, and distracted driving is just a piece of why accidents are happening. Legalization of pot is just around the corner. How many people do you think will smoke a joint and then get behind the wheel of a vehicle? Oh, and what’s with Ontario Hydro wanting to increase rates….AGAIN. I can just imagine Chris Cooke’s reaction when he heard that news. Also, congrats to the students who have started this class action lawsuit.
With that, have a Merry Christmas everyone and stay safe as we say goodbye to 2017.