Toronto set new traffic fatality highs in 2018

Toronto’s road users suffered through another dangerous year in 2018, as traffic deaths involving vulnerable road users reached their highest point in over a decade and overall traffic deaths surpassed the previous year’s total. Law enforcement officials, road safety advocates, and Toronto car accident lawyers received the news with weary acceptance.

As of December, 63 overall traffic deaths had been reported, including 41 pedestrians and five cyclists. (These numbers do not include the victims of April’s terrorist van attack). The increase in fatalities has occurred in spite of the city’s Vision Zero road safety plan which aims to eliminate traffic fatalities through a variety of measures, including infrastructure updates, the expansion of school safety zones, and data analysis.

With fatalities rising, council members reiterated their support for the city’s Vision Zero initiative. Coun. Jaye Robinson, an early supporter, broached the issue at council’s first meeting of the new term, while Coun. Mike Layton told the CBC that “we need to adapt our city’s processes so we’re able to move faster on pedestrian and road safety initiatives across the board.”

Mayor John Tory’s spokesperson, Don Peat, also reaffirmed that Vision Zero is the mayor’s preferred strategy.

“He firmly believes the central message of Vision Zero that fatalities and serious injuries on our roads are preventable, and we must strive to reduce traffic-related deaths and injuries to zero,” Peat said. “That’s why he receives regular updates from city staff on the implementation of road safety initiatives to ensure the work is being done as quickly as possible.”

Some road safety activists are skeptical of the city’s approach, however.

“We need to pause and take a look at the plan itself,” CycleTO executive director Jared Kolb told the CBC. “Why is it these numbers are not coming down?”

Council’s refusal to consider city-wide speed limits is central to advocates’ frustration. Groups like 8 80 Cities have called for limits of 30 km/h on residential roads and 40 km/h on arterial roads, a measure that has proven effective in other jurisdictions.

“I’m worried we don’t have nearly enough city-wide measures here that are communicating clearly to drivers that their behaviour needs to change,” said Kolb.

Councillors, advocates, and Toronto car accident lawyers have different ideas about how best to improve road safety in the city, but all agree that change is critical. As Toronto continues to grow, a holistic, city-wide approach to road safety will be required to reduce injuries and deaths.

If you or a member of your family has been injured in an accident in Toronto, contact Will Davidson LLP today to learn how we can help. Our experienced team of Toronto car accident lawyers will provide expert service as you travel your road to recovery.

 

Image credit: alexander.s.farley/WikimediaCommons


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