“It’s better to lose a minute in life than to lose your life in a minute,” says Sergeant Rob Cairns of the Ottawa Police Service Traffic Unit.
The top four driving infractions of 2019 have police encouraging road users to slow down and put safety first when they commute:
1) Speeding took the top spot with almost 10,000 tickets handed out to lead-footers. “Drivers aren’t aware just how dangerous speeding can be,” says Sgt. Cairns. Even 10 kilometres over the speed limit can mean the difference between surviving and not for all involved parties.
2) Distracted Driving (cell phones and other hand-held devices) continues to compromise road safety. Officers wrote just under 2,600 tickets last year. “Both are thinking tasks,” said Sgt. Cairns. “Your brain can’t do two things at once, which means if you’re texting, you aren’t focused on safe commuting.” A moment of inattention can mean the difference between safely avoiding an obstacle on the roadway and hitting someone.
3) Stop sign infractions resulted in close to 4,000 tickets to road users. “We get several complaints daily from residents about stop signs being disobeyed in their neighbourhood,” said Sgt. Cairns.
Properly stopping for three seconds gives you time to see everyone approaching the intersection and proceed when it is safe to do so.
4) Red light running accounted for over 1,400 tickets at $380 each. Of note, the fine is the same for running a yellow light. “You’re putting yourself at risk as well as other road users when you try to get through the light after it turns yellow (or red). Play it safe. Stop and wait for the next light,” added Sgt Cairns.
“The fact is, we can hand out tickets to deter these behaviours,” concluded Staff Sergeant Marc-Andre Sheehy, who heads the Ottawa Police Service Traffic Unit, “but if each person made the decision to make safe commuting their priority, it would have a much bigger impact on road safety for everyone.”