All too often, we in the media find ourselves reporting just how dangerous and deadly our streets are for drivers and pedestrians.
Last year, the Ontario Provincial Police saw 260 fatal collisions, in which 299 lives were lost.
“We don’t want to see any deaths on our highways,” said Sgt. Kerry Schmidt with the Highway Safety Division. “For the most part, these deaths are all very preventable.”
Of those, 69 were due to distracted driving, speeding was a factor in 61, 51 were seat-belt related and 45 were linked to drugs and alcohol.
Parachute Canada, a safety-advocacy group, is on a mission to completely eliminate car crashes by using a road safety model from Sweden.
Vision Zero addresses factors that contribute to collisions on the roadways, and ultimately aims to achieve zero car crashes.
“We have to have the roadways safer and we have to have pedestrians being able to cross the street safely,” said Pamela Fuselli, with Parachute Canada.
Vision Zero’s principal is based on creating intelligent traffic solutions, so where a person can fail, the road safety system shouldn’t.
“Those who develop the road ways, the infrastructure and urban planners to design safe road ways,” Fuselli explained. “For the police that enforce the legislation, and for vehicle designers to make them as safe as possible.”
Over the span of 10 years, Fuselli said Sweden has seen a 50 percent reduction in road fatalities, and she is confident other cities here will see the same.
“The more people focusing on their particular components of that framework, the faster we can achieve those goals,” she said.
Parachute Canada will enlist the help of the Transportation Ministry, police services and public health to see how Vision Zero could be implemented Toronto.