Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Better Still...Make Them Mandatory...and save some lives

Let’s face it we live in Canada and it’s pretty hard not to find ice and snow no matter where you live… Last Thursday afternoon I was at office when I got a call to head to Halifax for an early Friday morning meeting and although the wind had died down and the sun was out I decided I’d better call our Halifax office for a weather report before starting out.... same thing nice and sunny so I elected to take my car as opposed to the SUV... I was about 20 minutes the other side of Amherst when I encounter major snow and drifting snow and it wasn't long before there was 4" to 6" of snow on the road leading to the Cobiquid Pass... I slowed down to about half my normal speed and even though I had brand new winter tires on the driving was still treacherous but it didn't take long for a few fools to start passing me... about 5 minutes from toll booth I came across the first vehicle which happened to be a lady with a 4 wheel drive car with "all season" tires who skidded off the road... not 10 minutes later 3 cars had to haul over to push out another car with "all season" tires that had gone off the highway as well... I didn't see either incidents happen but one of the guys who was helping push said he was following behind the lady’s car when she had pulled out to pass someone and basically did a "360" into the ditch and it was only a miracle that no one was killed.... We all know the tragic story of the kids in Bathurst and I can tell you as a guy who travels a lot that the biggest cause of accidents that I've come across has been a combination of tire and driver related incidents.... Simply put it's about time we enforced a National Program for winter tires like what was done in Quebec and develop a tax credit or incentive to help people make the change…. at the same time the "all season" tire should be outlawed during the winter... the Editor is “bang on” let’s look at the statistics and they may give us the answer.
Considering the merits of winter tires
Government should make available any information about the measurable benefit of using winter or studded tires.
The Guardian
When Quebec passed legislation last year making winter tires mandatory in that province, it prompted nationwide debate on the merits of the equipment. In this province, a coroner's letter to this newspaper a year ago triggered discussion here, but in the end, the provincial government declined to bring in a law requiring Island motorists to equip their vehicles with winter tires.That decision seemed appropriate at the time. Although Quebec claimed that 38 per cent of winter accidents in that province involved vehicles without winter tires, the P.E.I Department of Transportation and Public Works had no such data. Without this, government really had no basis on which to proceed with legislation that would force Island motorists to go to the extra expense of putting winter tires on their vehicles. We suggested instead that government promote the use of winter or studded tires, since the prevailing opinion among police and highway safety organizations was that they do help improve vehicle control on snow or ice-covered roads. We also suggested that government begin collecting information that might demonstrate whether winter tires help in reducing accidents in the winter. Now that a year has passed, it's a good time to inquire whether the provincial government has been able to glean any of this information. If so, perhaps it could share it with Islanders as well as any conclusions it might have about the benefits of winter or studded tires. If it hasn't been able to collect any conclusive data, perhaps it should step up efforts to do so. The insight could be useful if support builds in this province for legislation similar to Quebec's. The province should also keep an eye on Quebec's law to see if it actually makes a difference in accident statistics.Public opinion seems to be favouring the use of winter or studded tires. Anecdotal evidence, at least, suggests more Islanders are using them, or have expressed an interest in buying them. As if anticipating an increased demand last fall, many auto shops and tire retailers across the Maritimes warned motorists interested in winter tires to order early because of the shortage that might occur as a result of the Quebec legislation coming into effect.Winter driving is one skill all Canadians, at some point, have to develop. Most, no doubt, are open to suggestions for making that task safer. If there's information available about the measurable benefits of winter tires, government should make a concerted effort to communicate that to Island motorists. That alone would likely convince more Island motorists to use winter tires.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nov. 1 to April 15 every Canadian except some in the lower mainland of B.C. should be required for winter tires.

Imagine suiting up your vehicle against the elements with four wheel drive, winters, fog lights, etc. only to get creamed by someone in well worn all season tires?

For once Quebecers are out ahead of the country with proactive regulation.

Pleasant to see the blog author promoting more government regulation in our lives...