The president of the Ontario Trucking Association told a standing committee at Queen’s Park the group understands the need to improve traffic safety in certain communities with Bill 65 but urged legislators to tighten up the regulation.
Appearing before the Standing Committee on General Government regarding Bill 65 – An Act to amend the Highway Traffic Act in respect of speed limits in municipalities and other matters – OTA president Stephen Laskowski said Bill 65’s intent of allowing municipalities to introduce photo radar technology in community safety zones would improve road and pedestrian safety at ‘high-risk’ municipal roads and school zones. However, he added the current definition of Community Safety Zones is too broad and encouraged the government to establish a more rigorous set of classifications based on available data and collision rates.
While several municipalities rightly define Community Safety Zones roadways as those near schools, daycare centres, playgrounds, hospitals and senior citizen residences, the definition can also be extended to include “collision-prone areas within a community.”
Laskowski this latter characterization is broadly open to interpretation and vulnerable to arbitrative political decisions.
“OTA is supportive of enforcement policies that ensure all vehicles are operating at posted speed limits,” he said. “Along with training, good fleet management practices and the use of technology, monetary penalties are an effective way to discourage this unsafe behaviour.
“However, in the case of photo radar which is applied to commercial vehicles, fines are issued to the owner of the vehicles and not the driver who committed the violation. Consequently, photo radar would do little to alter behaviour and would likely not be viewed as a deterrent if the monetary fine is not applied to the actual violator.”
Also, if speeding violations are not assigned to drivers, and subsequently shown on the drivers CVOR, the ability of trucking companies to manage the safety risk associated with making new hirers could be compromised, added Laskowski.
OTA urged the government establish a mechanism in which the driver of a commercial vehicle who is not the owner becomes the direct recipient of a photo radar-detected speeding violation. OTA would welcome any questions from members of the Committee.