February 8, 2018

Transportation Minister comments on 401 safety as Mayors lobby for stricter winter driving laws

COF-COF News Find 300 x 300By: CKWS TV, CKWS Newswatch, Kingston, Ontario 01-May-2017 – Canada’s busiest highway is also one of the most dangerous… especially in bad weather.
A point driven home by this chain reaction crash and chemical spill last March.
A Hamilton trucker died in the 401 pile-up east of Gananoque, during blizzard-like conditions.

“A few hours late could have saved a life. It could have saved that life.”
Mayors in Eastern Ontario are banding together — calling on the province to take action — to prevent future tragedies like this one.
The municipal resolutions range from reducing speeds on all 400-series highways during bad weather events …. banning trucks hauling dangerous goods when driving conditions are poor… or closing highways outright.
Different strategies … but with the same goal.

Roger Haley/Mayor, Front of Yonge Township:
“They do it in a couple of states in the US. They take them off the highway. It’s a safety thing. All the way around — for people and the environment. It can be done.”

While banning dangerous cargo in bad weather is one approach — Haley say the province can take other measures to protect the safety of all motorists.

“If we can get them to slow down first… that would be an important first step.”

Del Ducaè
“I’m happy to have a conversation with municipal leaders.”

Ontario’s transportation minister says he’s heard about the growing concerns voiced in this region…. and is willing to meet with the mayors to discuss solutions.
But Stephen Del Duca says there’s also an element of common sense that must apply.

Steve Del Duca/Minister of Environment:
“I would say that everybody who uses the 401 or any other highway or road on Ontario knows, particularly when transporting potentially dangerous goods to drive according to the conditions of the road.”

While 401 safety is the focus of many concerns … local mayors also worry that some measures could cause other problems.
Reducing 401 speeds, they fear, could funnel more highway traffic onto secondary routes, through small towns.
While the government isn’t ready to commit to any new safety strategy … Haley says at least it’s on the minister’s radar.


Also See:

1 dead after 30-vehicle crash, chemical spill on Highway 401 near Kingston (29 patients treated at hospital, including 13 first responders who underwent decontamination)

Victim identified, cleanup and investigation underway in 401 crash