Today we are presenting the 2011 Road Safety Report. As you will see, it is not very different from last year’s, a sign that the many efforts made in recent years are paying off. We wanted to meet with you today to talk about the many different actions undertaken in 2011, as well as those we plan to take in 2012.
Despite normal, slight statistical differences, our road safety record has stabilized since 2008. In 2011, we had 37 fatal accidents that resulted in 39 deaths, compared to 38 the year before. Nearly half the fatal accidents involved pedestrians, of whom two-thirds were over 65 years old. This is why, in 2012, we intend to focus our prevention efforts on seniors.
A quick review of the report shows that the total number of collisions leading to injuries declined by 6.6%. In Montréal, the majority of fatal accidents (76%) happened at intersections. So you will not be surprised to learn that in 2012 we plan to step up interventions around intersections.
In the urban setting, year in and year out, distraction is a factor in over 31% of collisions. We have all seen pedestrians crossing the street, with headphones on while texting, as if completely unaware of their environment. The same goes for some cyclists and drivers. Whether we are talking about headphones, cell phones, razors or makeup kits, I am sure you will agree that these are distractions that endanger all users of the roads.
We also have to bear in mind that pedestrians and cyclists are far more vulnerable in a collision. This is why we must all make their safety a priority. When you are on foot, on a bike or in a car, please, everyone, pay attention!! It is to everyone’s benefit.
Everyone agrees that speeding is down on our city streets. You have the numbers in front of you. We conducted more speed control operations this year, and yet the number of tickets declined by 17%. And we are particularly happy to announce that no fatalities were caused by speeding in 2011.
In 2012, we will maintain this police presence in order to keep the progress we have made. Driver behaviour has changed, and we must continue our efforts to make sure it stays that way.
In 2011, drinking and driving was a factor in 2 of the 37 fatal collisions that occurred in Montréal. It is encouraging to note that even though we conducted more operations and more random stops, the number of offending drivers fell by 18%. This is a clear sign that driver behaviour is changing.
In 2011, we also continued the training to certify officer-evaluators to detect drug-impaired drivers. This training allows patrollers to detect drivers whose capacities are impaired by drugs.
This year, the parking officers helped improve the road safety record by participating in several prevention and awareness campaigns. They also launched several initiatives to combat recurring infractions, such as a project to reduce the number of drivers who park in bus stop zones, to allow public transit users to enjoy safer and more reliable service.
Our goal at the SPVM is to educate road users so they will change their behaviour. We are seeing some very encouraging signs. The reduction in DUI offences and speeding are just two eloquent examples where our efforts are paying off. We need to draw inspiration from these achievements to pursue our efforts in terms of other dangerous behaviours, so that sharing our roads among the many different users of the network will result in fewer and fewer victims.
In closing I would like to make special mention of the determination of the officers on the ground. As you know, giving out tickets has never made anyone popular, but the public supports us because they want the streets in their neighbourhoods to be safe.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all our partners who have worked so hard to improve the road safety record. I want to mention in particular the support of the Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec (the SAAQ) and the people at the Bureau du transport dela Villede Montréal.
As I said at the beginning, the road safety record is stabilizing. In the next few years the SPVM will have to demonstrate creativity and originality to reach our various target audiences and make Montréal a model of road safety and sharing.
Daniel Allard, Chief Inspector
Road Safety Coordinator
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