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Speed, Highway Safety & 172
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 15, 2009 11:18 pm 
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Hey i have a few questions regarding highway safety, i thought it was neat i had seen hwybear and i wonder if there is any other OPP officers, i have always wanted to ask them some questions. These officers job is to protect our highways and i wanted to ask them some questions, they are entrusted with trying to keep our roads safe so here we go.

Anyways as to me i think the most dangerous thing on our roads is Distracted drivers. This leads me to the main point of my post. Why does the MTO, OPP, and Fantino seem to think its speed that is killing on our highways??? I looked here and was amazed maybee you should all look. I actually went to the trouble to go online to the ORSAR road stastics and found this neat table.

Image
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I find this interesting. For years all the news tells us how many people have been speeding. Even Julian Fantino enacted his big street law threatening to punish many people for speeding excesively.

Well regardless of what people say i have one have traveled a fair bit on 400 series highways. I have begun to notice it isnt speed that kills. When the road is wide open at 4 am in the morning how is going 150 km dangerous on a 4 lane road with a concrete barrier.

Many places drive fast in other countries and they aren't dying. Speed limits are much higher in the rest of the world. Deaths have been going down for years due to safer cars and better made ones at that.

Back in the 70's they put the speed limit down to 100 km/h from 120 to save oil. Well thats done and the speed limit is still 100 km/h. Why is this. Cars have gotten better, safer, and more fuel efficient at higher speeds.

Infact there was a study done by the University of Toronto which recommended a speed limit of about 130 km/h on the 401 or somewhere near the 85th percentile.

So why is the limit 100 km/h? I am not some bizarre street racer with a total disregard for limits. Anyone who has driven downtown toronto during the day or rush hour knows that 50-60 km is plenty fast enough.

There is some sections of the 401 i will admit maybe 100 km/h does make sense. Around where the 400/401/DVP meet that highway is a mess. The 401 after highway 427 is a mess. There is so many cars on it you cant move faster than 80 in traffic. There is collecters and express. The collecter fast lane merges into the slow lane of the express. Its a mess fair enough with 100 km/h in high traffic places, even the autobhan does this.

But it really changes at certain times of the day. And it really changes once your outside of the greater toronto area. When there is light traffic and its a 3 lane highway in dry weather with a concrete barrier, 100 km/h is to slow. Why cant 120,140, or even 160 be safe in these conditions?

Certainly the cars have gotten better and so have the roads since the 70's. Airbags and seat belts are mandatory now. The low limit causes problems. If they raised the limit the OPP could focus on the really fast drives and the really slow ones which cause the most problems.

What happened to all the signs who said move right except to pass? Why is the 401 speed limit 100 km/h along the whole thing? It is clear to anyone that some sections are safer and have less volume and can higher handle limits then other areas.

I think the most dangerous thing on our highway is when people clog the passing lane. Some drivers refuse to move over. Someone who wants to traveler faster is going to travel faster. If they wont move hell tailgate. If they wont move hell pass ont he right and race back through traffic to pass him. Move over.

People who drive slow can drive slow they jst need to move over. Clogging the road creates more volume and traffic and causes drivers to get angry this is just a recipe for problems.

Why cant we have some signs on the highway that say so. Why cant there be different speed limits for different sections. Maybee we should have electronic signs that can be changed according to the conditions.

If any cops could let me know what they think i would enjoy to hear what they think as they work on these roads all day. Hwybear i dont know what section of the 401 you patrol but i believe you said u are between london and windsor where is 2 lanes? That section is very dangerous though they call it carnage alley. You guys gfet bad storms.

Another thing i have noticed is inconsistent enforcement. There are some sections of the highway youll never see anyone and others are nuts.

So why cant we set a realistic speed limit. I am sure many have noticed especially for long journeys outside the GTA on off peak times people are not following these limits. Early in the morning it is quite common to see drivers going welll over 120 km/h when the road is clear.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2009 11:35 am 
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I agree with most of what you're saying. To add to it:

tdrive2 wrote:
Infact there was a study done by the University of Toronto which recommended a speed limit of about 130 km/h on the 401 or somewhere near the 85th percentile.


Here is that study:

http://www.civ.toronto.edu/sect/traeng/ ... -study.pdf

It recommended a speed limit increase on the 401 to anywhere from 110 to 130 km/h and the 403 to 105-110 km/h.

Several years ago the OPP launched Operation Move Over in the GTA. They ticketed all sorts of motorists for driving in the passing lane on 400-Series highways. Most of them were dumbfounded and stunned to discover that they were breaking the law. Unfortunately I haven't seen it repeated too often, although yesterday I saw the TPS stop a driver on the Don Valley Parkway who was quite clearly blocking the passing lane. It took him a while to realize that the cop wanted him to stop. I'd like to see some of that returned to highway enforcement.

I'm in favour of increasing some limits and in some areas doing what Montana did from 1995-1998 (daytime speed limit "Reasonable and Prudent speed"), but I think we require better driver education. MUCH better. People simply don't know what they're doing. Examples: Blocking the passing lane; diving across the bullnoses because they didn't notice their exit until the last possible second, a result of not looking at the signs or ahead; going 100 km/h on a dry road but then going 100 km/h on the same road in a heavy snowstorm "because I'm obeying the law by driving the speed limit," and then being completely stunned when they go into the ditch; not reducing speed in a construction or school zone; driving one car length apart at 90-100 km/h; stopping in the middle of the road to figure something out; tailgating in the right lane when the passing lane is clear, and getting all bent out of shape at the driver in front for going too slow when they could easily just pass them; accelerating markedly while being passed; speeding up to get in front of another vehicle and then slowing down after passing, etc. And they have no idea that they're doing anything wrong. They consider this a "normal" way to drive, probably because either their parents who were crappy drivers taught them, or because they had a really crappy driving instructor. Many driving schools simply teach you how to pass the road test rather than make smart decisions, pay attention and learn how to make emergency and evasive manoeuvres. Some people repeatedly get into the same crashes and can't figure out why. Methinks that part-and-parcel of higher limits would be mandatory good driver training. (Okay done ranting now.)

As for Carnage Alley, historically it had a low number of fatalities, something like 5 or 6 every year until 1999, when suddenly they had 29, including 8 people who died in that 87-vehicle pileup between Manning Road and Lakeshore 9th Concession Road in fog. Almost all of those fatalities happened in the spring/summer. Of the first 15 who died that year, 10 of them were not wearing their seat belts. Bear would have more information.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2009 1:36 pm 
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Quote:
but I think we require better driver education. MUCH better. People simply don't know what they're doing


And graduated driving was a huge success........... end sarcasm. The problem is that the elected members have drivers and they can't see past their own crackberries, out on to the road to really understand what is going on.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2009 1:51 pm 
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Speed does kill (I mean noone has died crashing their car going 20 km/h), but not in the way Fantino would like us to believe. If you could cut down your travel time from, say, 4 hours down to 3, that's one hour less of driving-fatigue you experience... By the end of your journey, you are more tired and less alert than you were when you started up the car, your reaction time almost doubles (again, depending on how long you drove for). Perhaps this is why most people have crashes happening when they are 5 minutes from home.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2009 2:30 pm 
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tdrive2....try to answer a few things

1) Chart is flawed. It is based on traffic collision reports which are done by officers, which should be checked by a supervisor. Most of us "traffic hounds" will fill them out properly. There are codes along both side of the report. I have seen others just fill them out to get them done and not even look what box is being filled out.
In the box that represents what you found....I will never ever say someone is "driving properly" unless they are the vehicle that got hit. I will always find something to put in. If you are driving properly you don't cause a collision.

2) Highways have improved, vehicles have improved....driver training has NOT. People failing to change their habits for weather is a huge factor and should be a ticket when they go off the road.

3) Speed does not kill......it is the sudden stop that does! What happens and the stats of the percentile stuff do not show, the stats of collisions do not show, is the actual speeds at impact (collected from the vehicles black box). Unless serious injury or death occur the black boxes are never examined. On the highway a vast majority (somewhere around 95%) of black boxes that are examined show the vehicle at 130km/hr or higher. The reason explained to me by our reconstruction unit is that the vehicles are safer, highways safer, but the human bodies internal organs can not take such a quick change in velocity (130+ to stop) in a second without serious injury.

4) Enforcement, some sections of the 401 have designated units/detachments for the highways, while others do not. So an area could have one or two officers slide out to the 401 for part of a shift and the next one over has 4-8 cruisers out all day. I know the other day we had 10 of us out....8 being on the 401 and 2 on a secondary highway.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2009 4:06 pm 
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Reflections wrote:
And graduated driving was a huge success........... end sarcasm.


Graduated licensing is better than nothing. At least new drivers aren't given full privileges immediately. Some places you can take a written test one day and then within a month go for your road test, no restrictions. If the gov't was really interested in safety, they'd repeal things like s. 172 and overhaul the driver ed program in this province. I'm not naive enough to believe that they will, but at least the possibility can be discussed here.

Reflections wrote:
The problem is that the elected members have drivers and they can't see past their own crackberries, out on to the road to really understand what is going on.


They won't see past their crackberries, ever. Mostly they're trying to come up with new ways of justifying their existence. In Ontario, that seems to mostly involve banning and restricting things.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2009 5:13 pm 
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Well i dont know what to say i see what your saying ill add another thing.

Drive at 95 - 100 km/h and play with your black berry.

Try driving at 130-140.

Ill tell you one thing you wont play with that phone at all. Your way more focused on what your doing cause you have to be. I have a friend in Germany, he cant believe our roads. People they're are on the ball. You follow the rules. You move to the right or you risk your life. Fine you want to go 150 there you move over because if you dont some guy can come up flying at 250, so you dont risk your life at all.

The problem with studies is they can be put either way. The problem is the special interests tied with the government and the police. Insurance companies and police benefit from all this.

Some of the ideas i have heard are wacko. People dont like their personal liberties taken away. Having cars with sensors and all this stuff i dont think it will happen. Sure i could come up with some crazy idea to limit all cars to 130 and if they go over you can have it send a radio wave and issue it a ticket but come on lets be realistic.

This is not a Police state. But everyday Fantino and McGuinty are slowly but surely taking us to the police state, more laws, less liberty, less freedom.

Another problem with these low speed limits is they cause a real disregard for traffic laws. When people see how stupid our highways are they just get upset then develop a real disregard for traffic laws in general.


Lock anyone can say anything. But the truth is people voice their opinion with their right foot everyday on these roads. The fact that most people are going 115-130 shows what people think of the speed limit. I am not implying anything but sometimes on the highway the worst offenders are the police them selves.

I have had local police fly by me going well over 150. I had a friend one week going to a cottage who infact got tailgated by an OPP convey on hwy 400. They had a car, bikes, and a tahoe carrying a boat racing up behind everyone in the left lane.

How come no one ever gets tickets for inhibiting the flow of traffic. Why do people who fail to move right not get tickets.?

We can say whatever we want about tickets but the fact is the rest of the modern world is driving faster every day. On roads that are not as good, with older cars. Ask anyone who has driven in poorer countries in Europe they will tell you this, and im not just talking about the autobahn system. Alot of European countries are at 130 km/h and they live to tell about it.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2009 5:25 pm 
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tdrive2 wrote:
I have had local police fly by me going well over 150. I had a friend one week going to a cottage who infact got tailgated by an OPP convey on hwy 400. They had a car, bikes, and a tahoe carrying a boat racing up behind everyone in the left lane.

How come no one ever gets tickets for inhibiting the flow of traffic. Why do people who fail to move right not get tickets.?


Police are exempt from the speed limit while in th execution of their duties. That sounds like ERT members responding to a call. And no we do not need our lights on. Often quicker to leave them off, less people panic and don't stop directly on the highway.

I have never issued that offence, nor do I think I will ever, signs all say MAXIMUM not minimum. As long as they are overtaking someone, there is no offence.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2009 5:50 pm 
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Based on good tires, brakes and ideal dry paved road conditions...

100km/hr = 28m/sec
(52m stopping distance + 40m reaction time = 92m to stop)

130km/hr = 36m/sec
(92m stopping distance + 53m reaction time = 145m to stop)
Extra 53m stopping distance from 100km/hr (1/2 football field)

150km/hr - 42m/sec
(121m stopping distance + 61m reaction time = 182m to stop)
Extra 91m stopping distance from 100km/hr (almost full football field)

If one has to brake for an emergency, they will travel significantly farther at higher speeds and less of a chance to avoid it.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2009 11:47 pm 
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Quote:
Graduated licensing is better than nothing


Actually, there was that report that said almost 60% of new graduated drivers were in an collision within the first year of driving, I'll try to dig that up. This was worse then without it.

Quote:
100km/hr = 28m/sec
(52m stopping distance + 40m reaction time = 92m to stop)

130km/hr = 36m/sec
(92m stopping distance + 53m reaction time = 145m to stop)
Extra 53m stopping distance from 100km/hr (1/2 football field)

150km/hr - 42m/sec
(121m stopping distance + 61m reaction time = 182m to stop)
Extra 91m stopping distance from 100km/hr (almost full football field)


Not all braking systems are the same bear.......however you are correct.


Quote:
Speed does kill (I mean noone has died crashing their car going 20 km/h)


10 years ago, a professor at U of T was killed going 40 KM/H. The reason, she was 4'11" and was sitting too close to the steering wheel when her airbag went off. Smart woman, didn't listen.....just like every one we are complaining about....... I think we should reinstate lawn darts to thin out the dumb ones again......

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:37 am 
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Reflections wrote:
Actually, there was that report that said almost 60% of new graduated drivers were in an collision within the first year of driving, I'll try to dig that up. This was worse then without it.


I found an abstract of a report from MTO on the program, not a direct link but it used all of the data. The original report was either taken off the MTO website or moved.

http://www.drivers.com/article/210/

That report showed a 31% decrease in collisions among novice drivers and a 24% decrease in fatalities after graduated licensing. The real strange stat was that people who went through an approved driving school had a 44% higher collision rate than those who did not. :? This was released in 1998. Is there other information that you could find? There might be more recent information available.

Reflections wrote:
Smart woman, didn't listen


Smart without common sense. I knew a university prof who wouldn't wear his seat-belt. He claimed that he was more than capable of handling his car and that it was an "unnecessary annoyance." He said that he felt that seat belts were dangerous because if you crashed you wouldn't be thrown clear of the wreckage, and remaining in the wreckage, in his opinion, was so dangerous it was insane. I don't think I have to tell you what happened to him.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2009 1:18 pm 
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hwybear wrote:
tdr-
2) Highways have improved, vehicles have improved....driver training has NOT. People failing to change their habits for weather is a huge factor and should be a ticket when they go off the road.

3) Speed does not kill......it is the sudden stop that does! What happens and the stats of the percentile stuff do not show, the stats of collisions do not show, is the actual speeds at impact (collected from the vehicles black box). Unless serious injury or death occur the black boxes are never examined. On the highway a vast majority (somewhere around 95%) of black boxes that are examined show the vehicle at 130km/hr or higher. The reason explained to me by our reconstruction unit is that the vehicles are safer, highways safer, but the human bodies internal organs can not take such a quick change in velocity (130+ to stop) in a second without serious injury.


Interesting ideas....

Was this at 130 km/h at the point of collision or when the car lost control sending them into this fatal collision?

What were the reasons for loss of control?

When Montana moved to no daytime speed limit, their fatalities dropped to all time lows. Also, they had no additional driver education, the highways were bad in most bits(but the general layout is consistent with North American road design) and they generally have the sames rules and vehicles as most provinces in Canada.

http://www.hwysafety.com/hwy_montana.htm

I'm not sure if 6-7 years of data from Montana, is good enough to draw up traffic saffety policy for Ontario. Although, it does make you think that maybe more rules, enforcement and more restrictions are not the answer to improving road safety.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2009 3:28 pm 
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It is much harder to compare Montana to Ontario given how low the population and population density of Montana is, compared to Southern Ontario. Also, Ontario's highways are safer...

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2009 4:39 pm 
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racer wrote:
It is much harder to compare Montana to Ontario given how low the population and population density of Montana is, compared to Southern Ontario. Also, Ontario's highways are safer...


I'm not saying that it isn't a completely equal comparison. However, most people from the "speed kills" ideology or speed enforcment priority number 1 mentality, will tell what happened in Montana for those seven years, regardless of population density, is impossible.

Also, you have to remember that the majority of Ontario's highway span, is not southern Ontario and those non-southern areas have population densities on par with many areas of Montana :wink: Anyways, this just illustrates the point, that sometimes more restrictions, education and laws are not the answer.

I have a feeling the unrestricted speed limits made people drive more consciously or in attentive manner. It's too bad that the people in charge of traffic safety in this province aren't as enlighten as other jurisdictions.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2009 4:54 pm 
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camber wrote:
Also, you have to remember that the majority of Ontario's highway span, is not southern Ontario and those non-southern areas have population densities on par with many areas of Montana :wink: Anyways, this just illustrates the point, that sometimes more restrictions, education and laws are not the answer.


See my signature lol. As it had been discussed numerous times on this board, OHTA is a mess. Some sections conflict, come describe the same offence, some cannot be enforced because they are unconstitutional, some simply do not make sense and must be interpreted by a court, and who has the time to read the entire act, let alone make sense out of it? Lawyers, paralegals, cops, and JPs. Law should be accessible, but OHTA is not. You can read it, but you cannot understand some of it. And yeat, ignorance of the law does not free you from the liability to follow it.

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