Road safety is among the most often expressed concerns by residents in Ward 10 received by my office, and that has only increased during the current global pandemic. In a meeting I had with Inspector Danos and other officers from Peel Regional Police’s 11 division in October, I shared these concerns about the degradation of proper driver behaviour, including speeding, rolling through stops and street racing. I was pleased to hear that 11 division is taking a new approach to road safety with more sophisticated tracking of incidents and complaints to more effectively deploy its scarce resources to enforce the laws related to driving in the Highway Traffic Act. Even better, 14 officers are being shifted into the road safety services unit to increase enforcement and police presence on our roads.
The ROAD WATCH program is getting a much needed overhaul as well. This is the program where residents can report an incident of careless or reckless driving through an online form found on the Peel Police website. Because it’s simply not possible to have police everywhere all the time, this program allows residents to participate in road safety through the reporting of these incidents. A new position at Peel Police – the Driving Complaint Coordinator – reviews all complaints and tracks them for future enforcement. As well, when a license plate is provided, an officer can issue a warning to the owner of the vehicle.
Following our meeting, Insp. Danos provided our office with a break down of traffic enforcement charges issued in Ward 10 over the past five quarters (July 2019 to Sept 2020). See the chart and graph below. There was a dip in enforcement in our community – and across the city – at the start of the pandemic due to a sudden shortage of available police officers and this seems to have coincided with a rise in complaints around poor driver behaviour. But since the summer, enforcement is returning to typical levels and should even begin to increase as the road safety unit is expanded.
The City of Mississauga has also engaged in road safety on a number of levels, including the installation of traffic calming devices on eligible streets, the launch of the Quiet Streets pilot project, the introduction of a city-focused VIsion Zero strategy and the neighbourhood by neighbourhood roll-out of lower “area” speed limits to 40 km/hr in residential zones. Please consider installing a Please Slow Down sign on your front yard. Also coming soon will be a 30 km/hr school zone project, automated speed enforcement cameras and the installation of stop-arm cameras on school buses.
These projects are all tools to help make our roads safer and it takes the partnership of so many groups and agencies for a holistic approach to improve driver behaviour. But it starts with each individual driver. Please take care when navigating your 4,000-pound (average) vehicle on our local roads and highways. Driving is a privilege, not a right – please be responsible.