Toronto is by no means an unsafe city for pedestrians, but recent driving behaviour and statistics have been severe enough to see city authorities go on the offensive. As reported by the CBC, the end of year period, which typically sees a 30% rise in traffic accidents, is set to see drivers targeted by ads encouraging them to check their driving behaviour. Another way to improve driving behaviour is through new car brands and technology; through innovation, tech developers are creating ways in which drivers can drive more safely.
Focusing on brand
A perennial positive note of car design is that the newer the model, the safer the car. This was confirmed definitively by a 2019 University of Virginia study, which found that newer models are always safer than older ones, and sometimes significantly so. A key reason is for this is the use of newer technology. Many of the luxury vehicles most recently released on the open market boast better security features: Tesla’s Model 3 has the highest possible safety rating. Even if drivers cannot adjust their habits significantly enough to make positive changes to their driving, the advancement of vehicle tech may do it for them.
Placing eyes back on the road
Another aspect of this push towards tech is the movement away from hand-held interactions. Voice recognition is now widespread; even Canadians, who were reported by The Star as being initially slow to use voice-activated devices, now use them in droves. This has had a positive impact on vehicle safety. Distracted driving is one of the key causes of on-road fatality, and removing the temptation to pick up the phone from drivers will help to reduce this aspect of poor driving. Of course, Ontario’s new distracted driving law prohibits drivers from talking on their phones, texting, dialing or emailing using a hand-held device. Fines are up to $1,000 with a three-day driver’s licence suspension and three demerit points.
Taking drivers out of the equation
Automated cars received fierce criticism after a safety test went awry in Nevada, US, with the Globe and Mail extensively reporting on the impact of that incident on Canadian self-driving programs. However, not to be deterred, Tesla and GM are continuing to conduct experiments on self-driving. According to research, automated cars are inherently safer than driver-operated ones. Drivers are often the biggest source of risk, and removing responsibility altogether may result in the biggest safety gains.
Toronto roads are pretty safe, but they could be better. The City of Toronto has seen the effects of poor driving, which often causes accidents and sometimes deaths, and are addressing it by lowering speed limits on arterial roads, creating more crosswalks, installing more red-light cameras, installing photo radar systems, making changes to road design and adding signals to intersections to give pedestrians a head start. With the help of technology, real gains can continue to be made.