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York Region, partners issue safety reminder as distracted driving spikes

During Canada Road Safety Week, traveller safety event reminds drivers to stay alert, focus on the road
Road safety representatives from York Region, York Regional Police, CAA and the Ontario Ministry of Transportation gather at a traveller safety event in Vaughan May 14.

The Regional Municipality of York is asking drivers to stay alert to counter a trend of distracted behaviour on regional roads.

Region officials, along with York Regional Police, Ministry of Transportation and Canadian Automobile Association, gathered at Islington Avenue and Rutherford Road in Vaughan May 14 for an event in honour of Canada Road Safety Week. The organizations are urging drivers to be cognizant of road safety and be aware of their surroundings.

York Region is implementing a multi-year vision zero traveller safety plan to help reduce severe collisions. In 2023, the region projected about 10,585 collisions total, of which 22 per cent would be severe. Before the pandemic in 2019, it was at 9,89 road collisions, with 25 per cent being severe.

To counteract this, the region is taking measures such as education initiatives, rumble stripes, enhanced pavement markings and enforcement.

Other proposed countermeasures York Region is putting forward include automated speed enforcement, red light cameras and school zone speed reductions.

“York Region and its partners have a collective commitment to safety, health and well-being of all within our communities,” York Region manager for corridor and traffic safety Nelson Costa said in a news release. 

Canada Road Safety Week is marked annually to increase public compliance with safe driving measures.

Provincial statistics show 44 per cent of Ontario drivers admitted to driving distracted in 2023, compared to 40 per cent in 2022.  Although more than 90 per cent of Ontarians age 16 to 24 are aware of the law banning driving while texting, 55 per cent of them reported reading texts and 44 per cent sent texts while driving.