Slow down Ontario gives green light to photo radar

Slow down Ontario gives green light to photo radarThere is new reason to slow down on Ontario streets. Photo radar cameras are starting to arrive in communities across the province.

As of December 1, 2019, municipalities have the green light allowing the use photo radar cameras to get drivers to slow down on high-risk streets, such as school zones. Automated Speed Enforcement devices (ASE’s), are now being used by cities and towns to capture images, warn and eventually mail tickets to speeders.

Why? Road safety.

Research demonstrates that lower speeds and ASE in school zones and community safety zones can be expected to reduce serious injuries and fatalities — Highway Traffic Act regulatory posting by the Ontario Ministry of Transportation, Enhancing Municipal Road Safety through Automated Speed Enforcement.

Leduc, AB data shows why its good to slow down

Starting this month, Ontario has new regulations under Bill 65, The Safer School Zones Act. Giving municipalities the ability to use new tools to promote road safety is optional. New rules apply in two areas:

Will a ticket get drivers to slow down?

Through our own  BE ALERT road-safety program we have encouraged drivers to slow down. Yet signs and safety campaigns are still not enough to change all driver behavior. Vision Zero goals are not being met. Children and older adults are still the ones most at risk. Some Mayors, frustrated with lack of progress, are welcoming the new rules.

I think that the notion of people getting a pretty big fat ticket, and their insurance company will know about it, I think this is going to do a lot to slow people down, – John Tory, Mayor of Toronto, said in a CBC interview on Nov 30, 2019.

Installed with cameras and sensors, the electronic signs showing vehicle speeds have been seen for some time. But gathering data, and informing drivers was all they could do. Now, municipalities are able to issue tickets to the registered owner of the vehicle using the evidence from what the photo radar machines capture.

Safety through enforcement is needed. Municipalities and police forces don’t have the manpower to enforce traffic speed everywhere. This technology will help do the job by grabbing drivers’ attention and getting them to slow down. This should help towns and cities improve road safety for vulnerable pedestrians around community safety and school zones.

Rules for Automated Speed Enforcement

Allowing municipalities to install speed cameras capable of issuing tickets, comes with rules set by the province. The use of ASE devices can only be on certain type of roads, and requires signage be posted to alert drivers where they are:Slow down Ontario allows speed cameras

  • New regulations apply to roads with a speed limit of less than 80 km/hr
  • Installed in school and community safety zones where speed is a concern
  • Signs to notify drivers of photo radar must be in place for 90 days before use
  • Municipalities must take a consistent approach to signage and camera placement
  • Municipalities must include public safety education and awareness as part of a program
  • Reviews of municipal ASE programs take place after 180 days by the Province

These rules may mean that some municipalities may opt to only use ASE’s as a warning to those who exceed posted speed limits to change their driving habits.

Plenty of warning signs to take it slow

The City of Toronto plans to install 50 speed enforcement cameras in 2020. In Edmonton, there are about 70. The city publishes camera locations, along with posting signs where they are in use. Drivers can get audio warnings if they set up the Google Waze app. All these things work. Police don’t mind when drivers are alerted and slow down. That’s the point.

If it slows people down and they know it’s there, that’s good. — said Sgt. Kerry Bates of the Edmonton Police traffic division in an article by earlier this year.

Warning signs and a test period are part of the Ontario rules to be followed before municipalities can begin  installing and using ASE devices to issue tickets. Google will helpfully remind drivers of their location. Ignoring all the warnings can pretty much guarantee a speeding ticket will arrive in the mail within a few weeks. With so much caution and static placement, it is uncertain if photo radar will deter Ontario drivers who ignore the speed limit. But it seems to be working in other jurisdictions.

Time to slow down

We know a slower speed can give time for a driver to avoid a collision. Pedestrians are particularly vulnerable crossing a street. Signs and campaigns telling drivers to slow down have not been enough. The 24/7 technology should help municipalities have round the clock speed enforcement which eventually pays for itself. Some have complained these devices are a cash grab. But we are with Sgt. Bates, if photo radar has the desired effect of getting drivers to slow down and protect pedestrians. If this can prevent even one collision, photo radar is worth it for the whole community.

We welcome these new road safety tools and encourage towns and cities in Ontario to use them to get drivers to slow down. Trimtag wishes everyone time to slow down, enjoy a safe holiday season. Why not make it a New Year’s resolution to allow yourself more time, or get in touch about customizing our own BE ALERT program.

Black November needs your extra attention

Remembrance Day reminder to change your tires for road safety sakeNovember has two major annual events: Remembrance Day, and the increasingly popular Black Friday. Poppies have long been worn to honour and respect the service and sacrifice of men and women of Canada’s military. Black Friday, on the other hand, only recently migrated north and morphed into a full month of bargain hunting.

Both, we suggest, have something to do with road safety.

Remembrance Day Reminder

The poppy became quite controversial this year. But there should be no debate over the need for winter tires. Switch when temperatures drop to about 7 degrees (7°C), say safety and rubber experts. Handling, traction and stopping distances are all improved. And you need four, not just two, winter-rated on every type of vehicle.

Transport Canada the Rubber Tire Association of Canada and the Automobile Protection Agency teamed up for a series on winter tires a road safety necessity from November to April

Why winter tires? Video Courtesy: Transport Canada, Rubber Tire Association of Canada and Automobile Protection Agency

This is a series of winter tire videos created by Transport Canada, the Automobile Protection Agency and the Rubber Industry Association. They are from 2007, but the message is still true today:

Snow tires are key to safety in winter.

November is prime time to put on your snows. Do it. Cold weather can creep up on us. Some deny the inevitable is coming. When exactly winter hits gets more unpredictable, but Canadians must accept it’s coming. It can be a slow stealthy, or a blast before you even put away your summer sandals, as many Torontonians found out when the city received a record-setting early 20 cm snowfall on Remembrance Day, November 11, 2019.

Why not make it a habit to use the annual cue of Remembrance Day to make an appointment with your tire guy? Maybe you will even find some on sale during Black Friday season. Before you shop, read the APA 2019-2020 winter tire guide.

Safety is the new Black

Signs are everywhere: “Sale!”, “Deals” or “Free Shipping” notifications constantly slide across our screens, land in your inbox or mailbox. In the Retail Council of Canada’s 2019 Holiday Shopping Survey, Black Friday is now bigger than Boxing Day in Canada. Saving while shopping for holiday gifts is the reason 43 percent of Canadians plan to participate this year, ten percent more than those who plan to shop on Boxing Day.

Alas, we did not see tires as one of the top ten categories consumers plan to spend about C$792 this year. Guess what the #1 consideration was when choosing a retailer to shop? Free shipping.

Go ahead shop, but one thing you should not discount is road safety. Consider taking the path less traveled. Buy winter tires! Besides, tires are black and road safety concerns are never out of fashion.

If you shop before December 15, you can take advantage of the APA list of winter tire discounts available. Tell your skeptical friends and family when you are shopping for your new treads: Safety is the new Black! It’s a bargain at any price. Maybe you will even start a new trend with your new tire tracks.

Special Delivery

Black Friday delivery drivers need to treat road safety with as much attention as the fragile Handle with Care packages they are delivering in NovemberAlong with Black Friday sales comes an army of delivery trucks. They have a lot of miles to cover and same-day or next-day deadlines too. Expect more delivery truck traffic, especially around schools and residential streets. Large parked vehicles can make it difficult for children to see and be seen, and navigate around.

Drivers for Amazon, Canada Post, UPS or FedEX, we urge you to do your duty and deliver with care. Drive as if “fragile” is marked on every pedestrian or cyclist.

Every year after the clocks ‘fall back’, there is less daylight, and Black Friday frenzy is upon us. It is time to reset everyone’s road safety game. Up your attention at the wheel. Park legally. Pedestrians and cyclists: watch for delivery vehicles, and make yourself visible at night. Black November needs your extra attention on the road.

Disturbing Data

Toronto Police Service Traffic Collsion data by typeNews of  troubling data from the Toronto Police Service have us even more concerned for road safety this month.

Released in November, Toronto’s Chief of Police, Mark Saunders, issued an update on traffic statistics. The trend of fatal or serious injuries is going in the wrong direction. Pedestrians are most at risk.

We all have a role to play to turn this around. Learn from the awesome determination of our military forces who have shown again and again how every single person contributes to the success of a mission. Do not delay putting on your winter tires, or be distracted by Black Friday shopping. Whether you are a delivery driver looking for a delivery address, a pedestrian looking at your phone while crossing the street, or a shopper rushing to a early store opening. No deal is worth a collision or injury.

Rain, sleet, and snow will arrive, much to most Canadian’s dismay in November. Instead of a New Year’s Resolution – they usually fail anyway –  why not make a November resolution to refresh your road safety habits? Drivers: get your vehicle ready. Cyclists and pedestrians: obey the traffic signals, make yourselves more visible. Can it really hurt to add some reflective patches to outerwear and backpacks so you can be seen better at night?

We urgTrimtag BE ALERT road safety reflective products for school age children and prioritizes pedestrian and cycling safetye everyone to think about prevention. When it comes to road safety, we can all help put those terrible numbers in reverse. Be Alert. Drive with care. Be seen. If your tire company, retailer or consumer advocacy group wants to get the word out about winter tires, get in touch. We have created our own Be Alert child-friendly products including reflective stickers and patches. We can also customize some for your own program.

Halloween on hold, time change maybe cancelled

Halloween on hold, time change may be cancelled

Courtesy: The Weather Network

Today is an unusual day, at least in the east. The City of Montreal and other communities in Quebec have put Halloween on hold. In the west, British Columbia legislators are debating cancellation of the semi-annual time change.

Please double-down on Halloween road safety

Kids (and parents) may complain about Halloween on hold. It’s all due to the lousy weather forecast.

I invite Montrealers to have Halloween on Friday because of the rain and strong winds announced tomorrow– Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante said on Twitter on Wednesday.

That has provoked horror and confusion among kids and parents. And some howls (of laughter?) for communities in the north which may get up to 30 cm of snow instead of rain. We get the mayors put Halloween on hold in the interest of public safety.

Whenever you decide this year’s Halloween should be, we worry that makes two dark, rainy or snowy nights in a row where young ghouls and goblins may be out on the street. So we are asking drivers to please double down on your Halloween road safety plan, just in case.

Don’t change your clock (maybe)

Time change is this weekend; for some its time to 'fall back' one hourMeanwhile, this weekend in most of Canada, clocks are supposed to fall back to daylight savings time. Except Saskatchewan.  Since 1912 the prairie province has always officially or unofficially been on Central Time, even though geographically located on Mountain Time. That means for six months of the year, Saskatchewan is on the same time as Manitoba, the other half of the year with Alberta.

Now today, British Columbia has tabled a bill to make the semi-annual time change obsolete in that province. Apparently its to align time zones with trading partners (the US). The public survey showed 93% of people agree to stick with year-round DST.

But note to BC folks: you will still have to figure out how to reset your clocks one more time this weekend. If the bill passes, it won’t come into force until 2020 at the earliest. Only then will there be no more falling back and springing forward.


No doubt both of these events are confusing people. When should I take the kids out trick-or-treating? What time is it anyway?

Time to call and book your winter tire changeAll we can say, is we are now at the witching hour: days are shorter, darker, rainy and soon, (sorry to remind you) snowy. Maybe its time to make that call to book your winter tire change…

Wishing you a Happy Halloween, today, or tomorrow. Enjoy that extra hour of sleep (except in Saskatchewan). And we can’t say it often enough: BE ALERT. And that goes for everyone who is on the road: pedestrians, scooters, e-bikes, regular bikes, personal mobility devices, and all manner of motor vehicles as winter nears.

Be Alert and be visible every night

As the time changes and winter nears, we want to urge everyone to think about how you can improve your visibility every night. Prevention is the way to avoid the nightmare of a collision because someone could not be seen. That is why we created our own child-friendly stickers, patches, and Be Alert products.

For auto insurance companies, mechanics and tire specialists who share our concern for pedestrian and road safety, get in touch so we can create your own custom reflective program for Halloween, Winter Tire Season, Back to School, or any time of year. Our Be Alert program aims to encourage awareness and active attention to road safety, especially for the most vulnerable road users: children, pedestrians and cyclists.