Bill 65’s intent of allowing municipalities to introduce photo radar technology in school and community safety zones is a measure that should improve road safety by reducing collisions as well improving pedestrian safety at high-risk municipal roads and school zones, says the Ontario Trucking Association.
While OTA supports the effort, the association says there’s still work to be done in ironing out the details of the bill.
Specifically, OTA says the current definition of Community Safety Zones is too broad and the association encourages the government to establish a more rigorous set of classifications based on available data.
As OTA understands the rule, a municipal council – through the bylaw process – could arbitrarily designate a roadway under its jurisdiction to be a Community Safety Zone if, in the council’s opinion, “public safety is of special concern.”
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.”
OTA believes this latter characterization is broadly open to interpretation and vulnerable to subjective political decisions. OTA urges the provincial government to bolster the definition of a “collision-prone area” so that it’s based on evidence and actual collision rates.
OTA is supportive of enforcement policies that ensure all vehicles are operating at posted speed limits. For the most part, monetary penalties are the best way to discourage unsafe behaviour, says the trucking group.
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, OTA points out. 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.
OTA therefore suggests 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 looks forward to working with the Ministry on these issues.