Efforts to enhance road safety in the country were top of mind recently at a meeting in Toronto of the Council of Ministers responsible for Transportation and Highway Safety.
Ministers approved the release of the new Strengthening School Bus Safety in Canada report from the federal, provincial and territorial Task Force on School Bus Safety. The report reiterated the excellent safety record of school buses in Canada, based on a review of all aspects of school bus safety, including seatbelts. It noted that 79 per cent of incidents involving a school bus occurred outside the bus, either from the bus itself or passing motorists. The report also identifies potential technologies that can make school buses even safer, such as camera technologies, automatic emergency braking and extended stop-arms.
As part of the ongoing dialogue around ensuring that commercial drivers across the country have the necessary knowledge and skills to safely operate their vehicles, ministers reached an important milestone by approving a Canada-wide training standard. This standard is for entry-level training of commercial motor vehicle drivers and will be included in the National Safety Code which provides support for all jurisdictions.
These enhancements align with the numerous changes to the provincial Highway Traffic Act that have been made over the last several years in Newfoundland and Labrador, with an aim of improving road safety. Recent improvements to the Act include increased fines and tougher penalties for a number of offenses such as impaired driving; amendments regarding excessive speeding, street racing, stunting and move over provisions; a new offence for driving without due care and attention; introduction of a one-metre rule for cyclists and pedestrians; and changes to enable the use of image capture systems to help increase road safety on our province’s roads and highways, including in school zones.
“It is important that we use this national forum to discuss and problem solve around road safety issues throughout the country. Enhancing road safety is a priority on our agendas at both a provincial and a national level.”
Honourable Sherry Gambin-Walsh
Minister of Service NL
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