Mono gets ‘anaemic’ response from MTO on safety concerns

February 1, 2024   ·   0 Comments


Mono council has made some headway in its attempts to bend the province’s ear to highway safety concerns.

But the response was perceived as being lacklustre.

“It took the Minister of Transportation two months to generate this very anaemic letter,” Mayor John Creelman said. “And I mean anaemic to the point of requiring Geritol. It’s just dreadful.”

Highways safety has been an issue of concern for Mayor John Creelman and Mono’s council for some time. He’s been voicing his concerns to the provincial government since 2022.

In January, council called on Queen’s Park and other Ontario municipalities to recognize that there’s a road safety emergency on the province’s thoroughfares.

“Road safety is of continuing and increasing concern to Ontarians,” Creelman said at last month’s meeting. “The number of traffic collisions, injuries, and even fatalities are at unacceptable levels.”

Creelman implored the government to launch a provincewide road safety educational program. And he suggested the program could be paid for by some of the money used to advertise Ontario Gaming and Lottery Corporation’s offerings.

Creelman also said Highway Transportation Act fines and penalties should be increased to be a more convincing deterrent to reckless driving above the speed limit.

And municipalities should be allowed to deploy automated speed enforcement (ASE) in 80-kilometres per-hour zones or less without having to declare them Community Safety Zones.

Creelman broached the possibility of a working group with municipalities tasked to identify and recommend the elimination of regulatory red tape associated with the use of ASE and administrative penalties.

Steps should be taken to ensure Provincial Offences Act (POA) fines and penalties do not lose their deterrent effect over time. Fines for speeding have not increased for more than 30 years. And 60 per cent of fines for highway infractions remain at $85.

The means of collecting outstanding POA fines and victim surcharge money needs to be improved. It has been estimated that more than $1 billion is left uncollected from as far back as 2011.

Creelman said the estimate is taken from a white paper report by the Ontario Association of Police Services Boards.

Transportation Minister Prabmeet Singh Sarkaria said in a letter to Mono council that the safety of Ontarians will always be the government’s top priority.

“Ontario has some of the safest roads in North America,” he said. “However, the Ministry of Transportation (MTO) is continuously taking steps to improve road safety.”

MTO uses a combination of strategies to combat excessive speed and high-risk driver behaviour, including introducing stronger rules and penalties, traffic calming measures, public education, and enforcement, the minister said.

As proof, Sarkaria cited the MOMS Act that was introduced in 2021.

“This legislation introduced tougher penalties to address street racing and stunt driving, including longer roadside driver’s licence suspensions and vehicle impoundment periods,” he said. “MTO is actively exploring additional deterrent measures, including potential increases to speeding fines, to further reduce and prevent unsafe driving.”

Then, Sarkaria said the provincial government would continue to collaborate and support municipalities to improve road safety across the province. 

While he wasn’t impressed by the minister’s response, Creelman said the good news is that a meeting with the minister has been spoken about to take place over the next few days or weeks. 

“At some point,” Creelman said. “I haven’t heard back as to a suggested date and time.”

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