Ontario took another big step towards finding ways to clean up highway collisions faster and get traffic in vital GTA corridors moving quicker.
On March 25, a private member’s bill was introduced (Bill 181), which would establish an advisory committee to make recommendations to the Minister of Transportation and the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services for the improvement of highway incident management.
If enacted, the bill would help formalize recommendations OTA and others have been making in regards to re-establishing the special working group.
Several years ago OTA helped unite the province, the OPP, the Insurance Bureau of Canada, and representatives of the Ontario towing/recovery industry in forming the Faster Clearance Working Group (FCWG) – a forum which allowed the stakeholders an opportunity to address issues including: recovery times in order to avoid worsening congestion; increase awareness of how recovery companies should be chosen to ensure the availability of the proper equipment; and prevention of consumers being gouged.
Although it was not a panacea for all problems, the FCWG for a time brought about improvements through better communication between all stakeholders. Eventually, though, the committee dissolved.
Last December, Transportation Minister Glen Murray formally responded to recommendations made by OTA by indicating the committee would be revived in 2014.
Bill 181 seeks to establish an advisory committee to analyse highway incident management and to develop a comprehensive program to improve it. Furthermore, this group would be required to provide a report with recommendations to the Minister of Transportation and the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services on how to:
• Provided public education programs to improve driver behaviour in circumstances involving highway incidents.
• Reduce the time for appropriate authorities to detect and verify highway incidents and to clear highways after the occurrence of highway incidents.
• Provide timely and accurate information about highway incidents to drivers.
• Enhance the safety and security of Ontario’s highways.
OTA is pleased with the developments made on this issue over the past few months.
For more information on OTA’s efforts or the FCWG please contact [email protected]