With the May Run weekend starting tonight, Timmins Police Services reminds everyone who will be on the road to drive safely and follow the rules of the road.
“This week May 16-22, marks Canada Road Safety Week, when law enforcement agencies across the country will be focusing on reducing the “Big Four” dangerous driving behaviours: impaired driving, aggressive driving, distracted driving, and improper seatbelt use,” said Officer Tom Dacosta of Timmins Police Services.
“With the long weekend starting, TPS wants to get the message out to all drivers, to follow the rules of the road, and we will be out on Timmins' roads this long weekend, to make sure that drivers drive with courtesy, and consideration and do not practice the Big Four dangerous driving habits,” Dacosta said.
In 2016, Timmins police laid 44 impaired driving charges and another 68 charges for distracted driving with people talking on their cell phones when driving.
“Many drivers are starting to realize that talking on their cell phone, or texting while driving is dangerous and if caught the fines are substantial,” said Dacosta. “What many people are doing is letting their friends and family know that they are driving ahead of time and to call or text after they have arrived at their destination, and others are simply turning off their phones while driving.”
“If you must take a phone call, the best idea is to pull off the road when it is safe, stop the car and take the call,” he added.
Other considerations when driving safely is to consider the conditions of the road, the weather and drive appropriately. When roads are wet or snow and ice covered, drivers are expected to slow down.
Parents must ensure that all their children are properly wearing their seatbelts and they should set the example by wearing their own.
Fatigue is as much a problem on the roads today as alcohol and drug related impairment.
“If you feel tired, pull over to a safe spot or rest area provided and rest until you are alert enough to resume driving,” Dacosta said.
“Remember that distracted driving is defined as any activity that diverts attention of the driver from their driving,” said Kate Cantin, communications officer for TPS. “Distracted driving includes everything from using your phone, eating a sandwich, sipping on a coffee or putting on your make up.”
TPS participation in Canada Road Safety Week also overlaps with the launch of the 2017 DriveSafe campaign starting Wednesday, May 17, 2017,” Officer Dacosta added.
The campaign’s theme is “Sharing the Road,” with a focus on pedestrian and cyclist safety, and the ‘move over’ legislation for emergency service vehicles.
“Drivers should respect all service vehicles such as ambulances, fire trucks, tow truck drivers, snow plough operators and pull to the side of the road when they hear a siren or see the flashing light of a service vehicle, “said Dacosta.
Road construction sites are especially vulnerable to accidents and the law requires drivers to drive safely and be considerate of workers and equipment at a construction site. Fines are doubled if a traffic infraction occurs within a construction zone.
“Drivers should share the road with bicycles, mobility devices and pedestrians,” Dacosta explained. “When passing a care must follow the one metre rule and makes sure they do not get too close to a cyclist on the side of he road.”
"Respecting the flashing crosswalk sign when a pedestrian is crossing the road and stopping when you see a school bus picking up students are important considerations for drivers as part of the Share the Road campaign," Dacosta said.
In speaking with community members, one of the top concerns regarding policing remains traffic safety. TPS asks Timmins drivers, cyclists and pedestrians to work together to make Timmins a safer place to drive, walk, and cycle.
During Canada Road Safety Week and the DriveSafe- Share the Road campaign TPS will be in the community and on the roads to make sure drivers stay safe and arrive alive.