Information for parents Concerned about School Bus Safety

In Ontario, over 800,000 students use school vehicles every day to get to and from school. Other students regularly use school vehicles for special programs, field trips and special travel needs. School vehicle travel is extremely safe. Parents can help to ensure that it remains safe by stressing school bus safety with their children. The following information may be of interest.
What makes school vehicles safe?
* All buses built since 1980 meet safety standards developed by the Canadian Standards Association (CSA D-250) and set by Transport Canada
* The size and bright yellow color make school buses very visible
* The school bus is designed to protect passengers from impact. The floor is raised, the window glass is shatter-proof, and there are strengthened reinforcements along the sides of the bus
* The flashing lights and stop arm that warn motorists that they must stop for a stopped school bus
* The high penalty (six demerit points and a substantial fine) for motorists who fail to stop for a school bus
* School bus drivers receive special training and licensing, rigorous examinations and must maintain a good driving record.

School Bus Safety: Statistics

The following statistical background information is useful for professionals involved in the development and delivery of school bus safety programs.
Ontario's school population includes over two million students who attend elementary and secondary schools. Of those, over 800,000 regularly use school vehicles to travel to and from school. Other students use school buses for field trips, special outings and for special travel needs. Research conducted by Transport Canada shows that school bus travel is one of the safest methods of transportation—and is 16 times safer than traveling in the family car per passenger/kilometer of travel.
Factors Related to School Bus Collisions
Table 1
SCHOOL YEAR 1990/1991 1991/1992 1992/1993 1993/1994 1994/1995
Number of pupils transported daily (school year) 789,963 794,941 796,347 798,926 816,273
Total number of collisions involving school vehicles 1,315 1,194 1,174 1,293 1,018
Per cent of school vehicles in reportable collisions 6.6% 6.0% 6.0% 6.9% 5.6%
Per cent of all vehicles in reportable collisions 6.4% 6.7% 6.7% 6.6% 6.3%
Number of pupils killed 3 1 0 3 1
Number of pupils injured 255 147 160 219 174

Killed outside the bus 3 1 0 1 0
Injured outside the bus 13 19 13 9 7
Killed within school vehicle 0 0 0 2 1
Injured within school vehicle 242 128 147 210 167

Pupils Killed and Injured in Collisions
As Table 1 indicates, the majority of school vehicle-related fatalities (62%) occur outside the school vehicle. When a school vehicle is involved in a collision, the outcome for the pupils traveling in it is very rarely death. The majority of reported injuries due to collisions are minor, involving cuts and bruises. Historically, six to eight pupils a year require a hospital stay due to injuries sustained within the school bus.
Pupil deaths outside the school vehicle occur either when a motorist does not stop for a school vehicle that is taking on or discharging passengers, or when the pupil is hit by the school vehicle.
In 1995, there were 2,185,926 children in Ontario between the ages of 5 and 19. In order to put school vehicle safety in perspective, some other transportation-related injuries which affect this age group are identified in Table 2. During the 1994/5 school year (200 days) one child was killed and 174 were injured in school vehicle crashes, and it is estimated that school pupils take well over 163 million trips to and from school.
Table 2
Deaths per 10,000 population Injuries per 10,000 population
Motor Vehicle Passengers 61 .28 8634 39.5
Pedestrians 20 .09 1696 7.8
Cyclists 9 .04 1324 6.06

The low injury and fatality rate among school vehicle passengers is likely due to the distinctive highly visible, yellow and black color of school vehicles, the special training and licensing of school vehicle drivers, and the emphasis placed on safety by the operators.

Traffic Signs Related to Schools and School Bus Safety

This sign warns that you are coming to a school zone. Slow down, drive with extra caution, and watch for children.
The speed limit in this zone is lower during school hours. Observe the reduced speed limit shown when the yellow lights are flashing.
This sign warns of a school crossing. Watch for children and follow the directions of the crossing guard or school safety patroller.
This sign warns that you are coming to a school bus stop of which you may not have a clear view. Slow down, drive with extra caution, and watch for children and for school bus with flashing signal lights.
This sign is installed on multi-lane highways with no centre median divider. It informs drivers approaching from both directions that they must stop for a school bus when its signal lights are flashing. If you don't stop for a school bus, you can be fined $400 to $2000 and get six demerit points for a first offence. If you break the rule a second time, the penalty is a fine of $1000 to $4000 and six demerit points. You could also go to jail for up to six months.

Choose the Right Safety Seat for Your Child

For child car seats to cut the risk of injury and death they must be used correctly. Use this guide to choose the right seat for your child's age, weight and height.
Rear-facing Seat
* Required by law for children weighing less than 9 kg (20 lb.).
* Best to use until at least one year old and a minimum of 10 kg (22 lb.). Follow manufacturer's recommendations for height/weight.
* Harness slots at or below shoulders and seat is reclined to a 45 degree angle.

As a parent or caregiver:

* Teach and reinforce the proper techniques for crossing the road safely with your child.
* Stress the importance of walking on the inside of the sidewalk, or where there are no sidewalks, as far away as possible from the travelled portion of the road;
* Stopping before the edge of the sidewalk at all times;
* Being alert and stopping at driveways and where there are no curbs.

Sharing the road with trucks

The length and width of large trucks can create special driving situations for both small and large vehicle drivers. Often it is a lack of understanding by small vehicle drivers of large trucks that can lead to collisions. To share the road with a truck means being aware of its capabilities and limitations. The following suggestions can help drivers share the road comfortably and safely.
At intersections, drivers of long trucks that are turning right may move into the left lane to avoid hitting the curb as they turn. If you ignore the truck’s turn signals and pull up on its right side, you may be squeezed between the truck and the curb as it makes the turn.
Most trucks need a longer distance to stop. Signal your intentions well before turning, slowing or stopping to give trucks behind you more time to brake.
When stopped, especially going uphill, a truck may roll back farther than a car when the driver releases the brake and engages the clutch. Leave at least one car length between your vehicle and the truck ahead and stay slightly to the left of your lane so you can be seen in the truck driver’s mirror.
Be visible. Stay out of a truck’s blind spots, typically to the sides and back. Truck drivers rely on their mirrors to see what’s happening in these areas. Never follow so closely that a truck driver cannot see your vehicle in the mirrors. If you can’t see the driver in the mirrors, then the truck driver cannot see you.
When passing trucks, do not stay alongside for too long a time. Pass as quickly and safely as possible and don’t cut in front of a truck too closely.
On multi-lane freeways, trucks longer than 6.5 meters cannot use the far-left lane. Instead they must use the lane immediately to the right (middle lane) to pass slower vehicles.
Never drive or walk around the back of a truck when it is reversing. You may be in the driver’s blind spot and you may be unknowingly hit by the truck.
When meeting or passing a truck on a highway, stay as far away from it—in your lane—as you can to avoid the wind pressure created at high speeds.

Road Safety

The ATSB's road safety activities include undertaking research projects to improve national road safety, research and statistical analysis, coordination of the National Road Safety Strategy and Action Plan, and publication of road fatality statistics.

Road crashes are a huge cause of human trauma. Since record keeping commenced in 1925, there have been over 169,000 road fatalities in Australia. In addition to the burden of personal suffering, the monetary cost of crashes is in the order of $15 billion per annum (1996 data).

From 1970 until 2002 the fatality rate dropped from 30.4 to 8.8 deaths per 100,000 population. This reduction has been achieved in spite of a huge increase in motor vehicle use. From 1970 to 2002, the fatality rate per 10,000 registered vehicles has dropped from 8.0 to 1.4. In terms of 100 million vehicle-kilometres travelled the fatality rate has dropped from 4.4 in 1970 to 1.0 in 2000.

Stay Alert

As a driver you must be in good physical and mental condition to drive. Before you drive make sure you are comfortable with your physical and mental state, your vehicle and the conditions in which you will be driving. If you have any doubts about any of them, don't drive.
Here are some points to remember:
* Never drive when you are sick or injured.
* Never drive when you have been drinking alcohol or taking any drug or medication that may reduce your ability to drive.
* Never drive when you are tired. You might fall asleep at the wheel.
* Stress and fatigue can affect your driving ability. Your thinking slows down. You can miss seeing things; you may make the wrong decision or not make the right one fast enough.
* Never drive when you are upset or angry. Strong emotions can reduce your ability to think and react quickly, or make you more aggressive with other road users.
* communicate with other road users to make sure they see you and know what you are doing. Catch the eye of pedestrians and drivers at intersections. If you want to get another person's attention, use your horn.
* stay alert when driving at night, and whenever weather conditions reduce your visibility.

The dangers of drowsy driving

Constant yawning, a nod of the head, heavy eyelids, blurred vision and wandering while driving are some of the warning signs that you may be on the verge of falling asleep at the wheel.

When you are sleepy, your brain starts to shut down. Driving when you are sleepy is dangerous. It reduces your ability to drive effectively and to think quickly. Your reaction time is slower, awareness is decreased, and judgment is impaired. Often the actions of fatigued drivers are confused with drivers who had been drinking. The consequences can be just as fatal.
The following tips can help you avoid falling asleep at the wheel:
* Get adequate and quality sleep before a trip;
* Avoid alcoholic beverages and heavy foods;
* Beware of medications that can impair your driving ability;
* Limit long distance driving – stop at least every two hours – and rest;
* Stop at a safe place and take a nap. Wait at least 10 minutes after waking up to see how alert you are. If you don’t feel any more alert, don’t drive. Find a place to sleep for an hour or for the night;
* If possible, drive with a companion and switch driving when necessary. Talk with passengers but not to the point of distraction;
* Keep the temperature cool in your vehicle. Keep your eyes moving and check your mirrors often.
* Avoid caffeine-type drinks like coffee or cola. They provide a short-term boost, however, if you are seriously sleep deprived, no amount of caffeine will help. It’s best to stay off the road.
* If possible, avoid driving during the peak drowsy times – from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., and from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.
See your doctor if you are prone to constant sleepiness. Recognize the signs, know the dangers, and reduce your risks of driving when drowsy.

Train Accidents Decline for Third Consecutive Year, Other Rail Safety Data Improves

Train Accidents Decline for Third Consecutive Year, Other Rail Safety Data Improves

The number of train accidents across the Nation declined for the third consecutive year according to preliminary 2007 data released today by U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Mary E. Peters.

"Our strong focus on improving rail safety is achieving significant results for three years running now," Secretary Peters said, noting there has been 833 fewer train accidents, or a 24.6 percent reduction when comparing the period from 2004 to 2007.

Peters stressed that some of the safety gains are attributable to aggressive implementation of the Federal Railroad Administration's (FRA) National Rail Safety Action Plan first launched in May 2005. It focuses on the most frequent, highest-risk causes of train accidents; optimizes the use of data to target federal inspection and enforcement resources; and accelerates research initiatives that hold promise to mitigate the greatest potential safety risks, she explained.

"We are targeting our safety activities on specific problem areas," said Federal Railroad Administrator Joseph H. Boardman, highlighting that the two leading causes of train accidents--human error and track—have declined 28.8 percent and 15.7 percent, respectively since 2004.

Comparing the preliminary full-year 2007 data to 2006, Peters stated that last year railroads had 406 fewer train accidents nationwide, or a 13.7 percent reduction. California (down 46), Texas (down 45), and New York (down 30) led the way among the 34 states that experienced reductions, she said.

Also, last year the number of highway-rail grade crossing incidents fell by 6.9 percent and grade crossing fatalities decreased by 8.1 percent to 339. And, trespass fatalities, the number one cause of all rail-related deaths, decreased by 6.2 percent to 486.

Boardman said that in 2007 the FRA added two new automated track inspection vehicles to its fleet enabling the agency to triple the number of track-miles inspected annually; announced approval of new Positive Train Control (PTC) technology for deployment in regular freight rail service, issued a proposed rule to encourage expanded use of safer Electronically Controlled Pneumatic (ECP) train braking systems, and undertook several wide-ranging grade crossing safety initiatives.

Thus far in 2008, the FRA issued a final rule designed to reduce common operating practice mistakes that result in nearly half of all human factor-caused train accidents. And, this spring the FRA intends to issue a proposed rule to strengthen the design standards and structural integrity of rail tank cars that carry hazardous materials, Boardman emphasized.

Peters praised the railroad industry with making an important contribution toward improved rail safety and for its continuing cooperation with FRA's safety program.

Click here to review the data, including state by state comparisons:

* State by State Rankings: Train Accidents; Highway-Rail Crossing Incidents & Fatalities; Trespass Fatalities
* Train Accidents by State: Percentage Change
* Train Accidents by Cause: Percentage Change

Driving the speed limit

Obey the maximum speed limit posted on signs along our roads and highways, but always drive at a speed that will let you stop safely. As a general rule, drive at the same speed as traffic around you without going over the speed limit.
In cities, towns, villages and built-up areas where there are no posted speed limit signs, the maximum speed is 50 km/h. elsewhere the maximum speed limit is 80 km/h.
Remember the following when driving:
* Slow down when driving at night, especially on unlit roads;
* Follow at a safe distance, at least two seconds behind the vehicle in front of you.
The following demerit point penalties are assigned to a driver convicted of a speed-related offence. Remember, if you collect enough demerit points, you can lose your driver’s licence.
4 points for exceeding the speed limit by 30 to 49 km/h
6 points for exceeding the speed limit by 50 km/h or more
Photo of speedometer keep in mind to be extra careful when driving through areas where people are working on or near the road. Slow down when approaching work zones and be prepared to stop. Obey all signs and any workers who are directing traffic through the area.
Be patient if traffic is delayed. If your lane is blocked and no one is directing traffic, yield to the driver coming from the opposite direction. When the way is clear, move slowly and carefully around the obstacle.

Cold In-Place Recycled Expanded Asphalt Mix

Cold in-place recycling (CIR) is a environmentally friendly pavement rehabilitation method that grinds up an existing asphalt pavement, sizes it, mixes in a small amount of asphalt cement, and lays it back down without any off-site hauling and processing. The added asphalt cement is typically emulsified asphalt, a blend of asphalt cement and water droplets. The material is then profiled and compacted. A new surface of hot mix asphalt (HMA) is placed after the emulsion has set and moisture and compaction requirements have been met, which can take from 14 to 30 days. Application of CIR is usually limited to the warmer, drier months due to the use of emulsified asphalt.
A recent innovation in the CIR technology is Cold In-place Recycled Expanded Asphalt Mix (CIREAM). In this new process, hot asphalt cement is pumped through an expansion chamber on the cold recycling unit, where a small amount (1%) of cold water is injected and immediately vaporizes. This creates thousands of tiny bubbles within the hot asphalt cement causing it to rapidly expand (foam). Next, the expanded asphalt is mixed with the reclaimed asphalt pavement. As with conventional CIR, the material is then profiled and compacted. The major advantage of CIREAM over conventional CIR is that a new HMA surface layer can be applied following as short as a 2-day curing period, rather than the minimum of 14 days required for CIR. The process is also less dependent on warm, dry weather for placement.
CIR has been found to be an effective pavement rehabilitation treatment, mitigating reflective cracking and extending pavement life. By reusing existing aggregates and asphalt cement (a zero waste approach), CIR/CIREAM is both environmentally sustainable and cost-effective. Other benefits of using CIR/CIREAM can be illustrated by looking at Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions and aggregate conservation. When compared to a traditional roadway rehabilitation technique of milling and 130 mm HMA overlay, the CIR/CIREAM process can decrease GHG emissions by 50 to 60% and aggregate use by more than 60%.
Since 1990, the ministry has successfully carried out over 40 CIR contracts and more recently, three CIREAM contracts. As a result, the ministry has reduced carbon dioxide emissions by 54,000 tonnes, nitric oxide/nitrogen dioxide by 440 tonnes, sulphur dioxide by 9,400 tonnes and conserved over 740,000 tonnes of aggregate.
CIR/CIREAM technology is a sustainable alternative to conventional methods of pavement rehabilitation and allows the ministry to reduce GHG emissions in support of the Kyoto Protocol while addressing the triple-bottom-line: the Social, Economic, and Environmental (SEE) impacts of our decisions.

Common-sense tips to help truck drivers stay in touch and return home safely have been released

Australia's professional truck drivers will receive advice on the safe use of mobile phones through a new fact sheet developed by the Australian Trucking Association (ATA) in partnership with the National Transport Commission (NTC) and the mobile telecommunications industry.

Making the call on road safety outlines ten tips for safer mobile phone use by truck drivers. The information will be distributed widely throughout the industry

"A mobile phone has become essential for truck drivers to stay in touch with family and operations staff while away, but their first priority must be road safety," said ATA Chief Executive Stuart St Clair. "We want all drivers to return home safely."

Using a hand-held mobile phone while driving is illegal – unless a hands-free in-vehicle-kit, or portable hands-free device is fitted*. NTC Senior Manager Safety Dr Jeff Potter warned a hands-free kit doesn’t make mobile phone use safe.

"Mobile phone use while driving is a distraction. My advice is to plan ahead and make your calls when the truck is safely parked. If the mobile phone rings while you are driving, let it divert to voicemail and return the call when it is safe to do so," he said.

Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA) Chief Executive Officer, Chris Althaus said the mobile telecommunications industry was pleased to assist in this important safety initiative.

"Although mobile phone technology, such as voice-activated dialling, can reduce the physical and visual effort required to make and receive a call, road safety awareness and education are essential to remind drivers not to be distracted,” he said. “Safety is the most important call drivers can make."

Arrester Bed Concept and Aggregate Characteristics

Low interparticle friction is needed so that the truck wheels sink deeper into the bed and as a result more energy is transferred. As the truck sinks into the bed, if the aggregate is of sufficiently low shear resistance, the axles will also drag on the upper surface further slowing the truck. The lower the interparticle friction, the more rapid the slowing of the truck.

It was recognized that in winter conditions, the contamination by ice control sand and water that might accumulate and freeze at the bottom of the bed would stop it functioning through the full depth. Theoretically, only a depth of 450 mm was required, although the bed was designed with a depth of about 600 mm with side slopes of 2:1 and a taper at the upper or entry end.

Aggregate having smooth rounded particles of substantially the same size with little or no sand or smaller or larger size particles is ideal. Another critical requirement is that the aggregate be resistant to both degradation by abrasion and freezing and thawing.

There are a number of characteristics that determine interparticle friction: sphericity, roundness, and surface texture. Gravel consisting of a high proportion of spherical particles will have a higher void space and lower internal friction thus giving a more efficient gravel arrester bed than one made with a low proportion of spherical particles.

In terms of roundness, there should be few or no fractured or crushed surfaces or sharp edges. Being rounded is not the same as being spherical. A cube has equal principle axis lengths and thus has a sphericity of 1, but such a particle is not going to have the desirable properties of roundness for use in a truck arrester bed.

Surface texture is determined by the grain size of the rocks and the degree of polish given by interparticle grinding. Grading is also important; poorly graded material preferably of a single sieve fraction is needed to reduce the stability of the material.

Auto shipping

Auto shipping is a process of transporting your car from one place to another (from one city to another city or even country). Vehicle shipping is the way to deliver your beloved car to wherever you like around the world.

Before shipping your vehicle you have to hold an inspection of your car and fix all previous damages, scratches and other injures in car shipping report to be able to claim damages if they take place during the process of car moving.

For an average price of about $100 you can organize your car inspection. If you want to get it cheaper you can find a mechanic who will inspect your vehicle and sometimes can even organize a real test drive for your car. Then all the results of the inspection must be stated in the car shipping report to save you the trouble of doing repairs of the damages occurred during the car transport after a car shipment itself.

In order to avoid any disappointment about auto shipping inquire beforehand if your auto shipper requires any deposits in advance and make sure your car has been insured in a proper way. Also you have to decide which type of service you would like to get: door-to-door or terminal-to-terminal (your car will be transported to one of the company’s terminals, where you will have to pick it up) auto shipping. But before settling on one of these ways you will have to inquire if there are any restrictions in respect of the transport of your car.

Choosing a Driving School (Driver safety)

Choosing professional driving instruction is one way to help ready yourself safely for the road.

A driver training course or high-school driver education program approved by the provincial government can teach you the skills and attitudes you need to be a safe and responsible driver. You may also be eligible to take your road test sooner and to save money on insurance premiums.

Approved driver training courses in Ontario must offer at least 25 hours of classroom training and 10 hours of behind-the-wheel training. Look for a program that offers high quality instruction and a comfortable learning environment. Approved high-school driver education programs offer in-class and in-car training after school for a fee. Courses are administered by the local school board, a principal or other high school authority. They are taught in high-school classrooms by qualified instructors.

To help you choose the best driving school and course for you, use the following checklist of features:

* Course information package

* Audio visual equipment

* Classroom facilities

* In-vehicle topics covered

* Risk perception and management

* Driving in adverse conditions

* Instructor qualifications and experience

* Student progress and evaluation reports

* Minimum 25 classroom and 10 behinds-

The-wheel instruction hours

* Certification fee

* Tuition receipts

* Testimonials

* Personalized program

* Low student/teacher ratio

* Basic man oeuvres

* Strategic driving

* Freeway driving

* Night driving

* Regular instructor upgrading

* Certificate of completion

* Training materials

* Use of vehicle for road test

* Registered educational institution

* Number of years in business

* Consumer protection insurance

Graduated Licensing for Automobile Drivers

Class G1

New drivers of passenger vehicles learn to drive with six important conditions with a G1 licence. A new driver must hold a G1 licence for a minimum of 12 months before attempting the G1 road test. This time can be reduced to eight months if you successfully complete an approved driver education course. Drivers earn more privileges after passing their G1 road test.

As a G1 driver, you are required to:

· maintain a zero blood alcohol level while driving;

· be accompanied by a fully licensed driver, who has at least four years driving experience, and a blood alcohol level of less than .05 per cent, in case he/she needs to take over the wheel;

· ensure the accompanying driver is the only other person in the front seat;

· ensure the number of passengers in the vehicle is limited to the number of working seat belts;

· refrain from driving on Ontario's "400-series" highways or on high speed expressways such as the Queen Elizabeth Way, Don Valley Parkway, Gardiner Expressway, E.C. Row Expressway and the Conestoga Parkway;

· refrain from driving between midnight and 5:00 a.m.

Transport achievements during the UK Presidency

During the Presidency, the UK's Secretary of State for Transport, Alistair Darling, chaired two meetings of the Transport Council - on 6th October and 5th December 2006. The UK also had responsibility for representing the Council of Ministers in its negotiations with the European Parliament and the European Commission. The Council's working group was chaired by UK officials.

The UK Presidency took forward an active agenda of transport measures inherited from the Luxembourg Presidency. Work was also started at EU level on new measures across all modes of transport.

Following an agreement at the October Transport Council, negotiations were able to restart between the EU and the US on an "Open Sky" Aviation Agreement. Negotiations have made good progress towards a balanced deal and there is the prospect of agreement in the first half of 2006.

At the two Transport Councils, agreement was reached between Member States on:

* Rights for passengers with reduced mobility - providing enhanced rights for disabled air passengers and those with reduced mobility.
* International rail passenger rights - providing opportunities for new commercial international services, while protecting existing publicly subsidised services.
* International rail passenger service liberalisation - establishing rights for international rail passengers in order to improve the effectiveness of international rail passenger transport.
* Train Crew Licences - harmonising the licensing and certification of train drivers.
* Maritime Employment - encouraging social partners to take actions to promote quality shipping.

On behalf of the Council, the UK led negotiations with the European Parliament on:

* Rules for Lorry User Charging (Eurovignette) - agreement reached with the European Parliament on legislation revising the rules for lorry charging.
* Aviation safety - negotiations took place with the European Parliament on legislation that will see the publication of an EU wide list of unsafe airlines.
* Drivers' Hours and Drivers' Hours enforcement - agreement reached with the European Parliament on legislation that will set minimum conditions for the implementation and enforcement of social legislation relating to road transport.

The UK Presidency focussed on delivering "Better Regulation". The UK worked with the Commission to promote good quality impact assessments on new proposals for legislation. We also encouraged alternatives to regulation - the voluntary agreement on maritime employment being an example from the transport sector - and simplification

This year the Commission is conducting a review of its 2001 White Paper on European Transport Policy for 2010. As a contribution to that, the UK Presidency held a Ministerial debate in September by means of an electronic consultation.

Island Park Bridges Rapid Replacement

For the first time, MTO is using rapid replacement technology to lift, remove and replace existing bridges. In August, MTO will be replacing the two bridges at Island Park on Highway 417. The full replacement will take approximately 15 hours.
Rapid replacement technology is a construction staging technique where a new structure is constructed in an enclosed area nearby. The existing structure will be removed, and the new structure placed using heavy lift technology. The rapid replacement technology to be utilized for moving the approximately 500-tonne bridges is Self Propelled Modular Transporters (SPMT). This technology has been used successfully in many bridge replacement projects in Europe and the United States in recent years.
Highway 417 (Ottawa Queensway) is the main east-west provincial corridor that accommodates a large volume of commuter traffic as well as serving substantial tourist and commercial inter-city and intra-city traffic from Ottawa. There are ten concrete deck/steel girder bridges along Highway 417 consisting of three or four traffic lanes (one bridge in both the eastbound and westbound directions). All ten of the bridges were constructed in 1959 and rehabilitated in 1983. During the planning phase, MTO revised the conventional construction approach to include utilizing the rapid replacement technology for all the deck/steel girder bridges, thus reducing traffic interruption.
SPMTs are very maneuverable equipment made up of modules with 4 to 6 axles and rubber tires that are able to turn 360 degrees. Depending on the load, as many modules can be added as needed and with so many wheels the actual load on the road surface is similar to that of a truck travelling on the highway. The SPMTs will be used to remove both the east- and westbound bridges and likewise the new bridges will be installed.
One project step included establishing a temporary enclosed construction staging area. This construction staging area accommodates the construction of the new Island Park bridge decks, and provides space for the placement of the existing bridges being removed. When the new bridges have been placed, the staging area will be used for the demolition of the existing bridges. The staging area site, used for only one construction season, will then be restored to preconstruction condition.
By adopting this innovative method of bridge replacement, the province is expecting to save about $2.4 million for the Island Park Bridges project by using rapid replacement and avoiding the typical lane closures associated with the conventional approach over a period of two construction seasons. Another advantage of this technology is the reduction of green house gases often caused by traffic congestion and car idling in a construction zone.
This project included extensive public consultation, traffic management and a risk assessment component as well as environmental consideration. The Ministry hopes the success of this project will result in rapid replacement technology being used in future bridge replacement projects in Ontario and across Canada.

Public Transportation Reduces Greenhouse Gases and Conserves Energy

  • is estimated to reduce CO2 emissions by 37 million metric tons annually.

  • saves fuel, reduces an individual’s carbon footprint, and reduces congestion.

  • provides an immediate option individuals can take to reduce their energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.

  • use by a solo commuter switching his/her commute from a private vehicle can reduce CO2 emissions by 20 pounds per day—more than 4,800 pounds in a year.

  • use saves the U.S. the equivalent of 4.2 billion gallons of gasoline annually—more than 11 million gallons of gasoline per day.
  • provides an affordable alternative to driving. Households that use public transportation save an average of $6,251 every year.

  • ridership has increased 30% since 1995, with more than 10 billion trips taken annually.

  • is a national priority that should be specifically targeted by climate change and energy legislation. We all have a stake in expanding public transportation use.

An Innovative Type of Traffic Control

For the first time in its history, MTO has assembled a Roundabout Implementation Team (RIT) to research and promote the use of roundabouts as an alternative form of traffic control at intersections on provincial highways. The team is comprised of members from Traffic Office, Design & Contract Standards Office, Central, Eastern, Northeastern and Southwestern regions. Its mandate is to look at roundabouts as an opportunity to reduce collisions, delays and fuel usage, while improving air quality through reduced vehicle emissions.

The construction of roundabouts is expanding throughout North America. The ministry's first roundabout at Highway 33 and County Road 1 in Picton, Prince Edward County is scheduled for construction in 2008. The proposal is for a one-lane roundabout with posted speeds of 80 km/h on the north and west approaches, and 60 km/h on the east and south approaches. A number of local road authorities, such as the Region of Waterloo and the City of Hamilton, have constructed roundabouts on municipal roads with a great deal of success.

From a traffic standpoint, improved safety and reduction in delays for drivers are the major benefits of roundabouts. A 2001 study of 23 intersections in the United States reported that converting intersections from traffic signals or stop signs to roundabouts reduced injury-related crashes by 80 percent and all crashes by 40%

Reductions in vehicle emissions resulting from the use of roundabouts are certainly an added bonus in today's environment, where increases in traffic volumes put an added strain on air quality.

Vehicle emissions caused by excessive idling time at signalized intersections can be significant, especially at complex intersections with protected turns and long cycle lengths. In contrast, the yield-at-entry feature of the modern roundabout allows traffic to proceed with minimal delay, stopping at the yield sign only when necessary.

Even in moderate traffic conditions, drivers are able to accept gaps for entry rather than wait through the equivalent of an entire signal cycle. Roundabouts keep traffic moving since fewer vehicles make a complete stop. These savings in time, energy and the environment can be considerable in urban areas.

In one study, replacing a signalized intersection with a roundabout reduced carbon monoxide emissions by 29 percent and nitrous oxide emissions by 21 percent2. In an additional study, replacing traffic signals and stop signs with roundabouts reduced carbon monoxide emissions by 32 percent, nitrous oxide emissions by 34 percent, carbon dioxide emissions by 37 percent, and hydrocarbon emissions by 42 percent3. Likewise, constructing roundabouts in place of traffic signals can reduce fuel consumption by about 30 percent2, 4. At 10 intersections studied in Virginia, this amounted to more than 200,000 gallons of fuel per year5.

Education will be a key component in helping Ontario drivers feels comfortable when driving a roundabout. Many motorists are not familiar with the rules of the road as they apply to roundabouts, and are therefore opposed to their installation. However, this opposition often turns to support and preference once a roundabout is installed and people become comfortable using it. As part of the education process, MTO has included instructions on how to drive a roundabout in the newly released version of the Official Driver's Handbook.

The use of the modern roundabout with its unique operating characteristics provides an innovative traffic control alternative for the ministry. "Consistent with our goal to improve driver safety and given research has shown the multiple benefits associated with roundabouts, it makes sense that we advance their implementation," states Gerry Chaput, Chief Engineer/Director, Highway Standards Branch. The appropriate use of roundabouts will help improve safety while reducing congestion and vehicle emissions.

Vehicles & The Environment

The Department is responsible for managing policy and standards development on vehicle emissions, noise and energy issues. It has specific responsibility for the Australian Design Rules governing vehicle emissions, noise and fuel consumption labelling. It is responsible for input on fuel quality issues. The Team manages all aspects of the Green Vehicle Guide. It is also responsible for implementing the environmental aspects of the Government's fuel excise credit arrangements for commercial transport operators.

The Department's main tool to address vehicle emissions and noise has been the setting of new vehicle standards via the Australian Design Rules (ADR's). The ADR's are made under Section 7 of the Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989. The first emissions related ADR's were introduced in the early 1970's and have been progressively tightened since then, with the latest standards being endorsed by Ministers in April 2005. More recently, the Department has also developed measures to raise awareness of the impact of vehicles upon the environment through the launch of the Green Vehicle Guide website and the requirement for a Fuel Consumption Label on all new light vehicles.

Kent Kickin' Mini-Scooters

Kent is recalling about 90,000 scooters. The scooter handles can unexpectedly come out of the steering column if the clamp holding them in is not tight, causing the rider to lose control, fall and possibly suffer injuries.

Kent has received four reports of the handles coming out, resulting in four children suffering injuries, including broken arms, a broken wrist, bruises, abrasions and a cracked tooth.

These are Kickin' Mini-Scooters made of chrome-plated steel. A vertical decal on the steering column reads "KICKIN' MINI SCOOTER." The scooter's black plastic platform measures about 15 inches long, and it has 4-inch translucent in-line style wheels. "KENT" and "MADE IN CHINA" are written on the lower part of the steering column. The scooters were sold with black backpacks embroidered in white with the word "Kickin."

Toys R us stores nationwide sold the Kent scooters from May 2000 through September 2000 for about $60.

Consumers should stop riding these Kent scooters immediately, and call Kent International to receive a free replacement handlebar with pins to secure the handlebars. For more information, call Kent International at (800) 451-KENT (5368) between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday.

Kent has sold other models to Toys R Us such as the Street Craze, the Street Racer and Scoot that are NOT part of this recall. Scooters that Kent sold to Wal Mart, Meijer's, Target and AAFES are also NOT part of this recall.

Michigan Motorcycle Safety Program

Administering the Michigan Motorcycle Safety Program is an important aspect of the Michigan Department of State's traffic safety mission. Michigan's program uses safety standards established by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation to ensure consistent and comprehensive training. All motorcycle riders must take a knowledge test and successfully complete a motorcycle safety class or pass a rider skills test. A motorcycle endorsement is required to legally ride on public streets and highways. For more information about motorcycle training and endorsement requirements, call our office at 517-241-6850.

Securing your child in the harness

Ensure that the harness system is snug enough on your child's chest to allow only one finger width between the strap and the child's collarbone.

Positioning your harness straps

Ensure that harness straps lie flat and they do not twist or fold. Harnesses need to be straightened out each time the child is secured in the seat.

Using harness slots

Your child car safety seat's harness straps must be positioned correctly by ensuring they pass through the correct slots.

* Rear-facing child car safety seat harness straps should sit at or below the child's shoulders.

* Forward-facing child car safety seat harness straps should sit at or above the child's shoulders.


Photo of rear-facing child car seat Newborn babies and infants require special protection while in a vehicle. In a collision, properly installed rear-facing car seats can save your child's life.

Infant car seats should face the back of the vehicle, rest on a 45-degree angle and move no more than 2.5 cm (1 in.) side-to-side or forward at the base. If necessary, use a towel or a foam bar (pool noodle) under the base of the child car seat to adjust the angle. Harness straps should be slotted at or below a baby's shoulders. You should not be able to fit more than one finger underneath the harness straps at the child's collarbone. The chest clip should be flat against the chest at armpit level.

When the child outgrows the maximum height and weight of his/her infant seat, you may require a convertible rear-facing seat until your child is ready to be facing forward. The law requires using a rear-facing car seat until the baby is at least 9 kilograms (20 lb.) The law is a minimum requirement.

The law is a minimum requirement. It’s best to keep your child rear-facing until they are at least one year old or until they have reached either the maximum height or weight limits of the rear-facing seat.

Choosing the right car seat for your child

A properly installed car seat can reduce the risk of serious injury or death by as much as 71 per cent.

Car seat clinics indicate that as many as 80 per cent of car seats are installed improperly. Common errors include not tightening the seatbelt and harness enough, and not properly using a tether strap when required.

Make sure your child is safe and secure, and is buckled up right. Children under 13 years of age are safest in the back seat away from all active air bags.

By law, drivers are responsible for ensuring passengers under 16 years of age are secured properly. It is mandatory for anyone transporting children to make sure they are properly secured in a child car seat or booster seat. This applies to all caregivers, from babysitters to grandparents. Failing to do so may result in a $90 fine, plus two demerit points and a victim surcharge.

Trucker Speed Limits

New legislation (Public Act 19 of 2006) has been approved by the governor and enacted into law on Feb. 9, 2006. The act amends the Michigan Vehicle Code, section 257.627, permitting a truck, a truck-tractor, or a truck-tractor with a semi-trailer or trailer to operate at a speed not to exceed 60 mph on a freeway, if the maximum speed limit on that freeway is 70 mph for noncommercial vehicles. This amendatory act takes effect nine months after the date it is enacted into law, thus it starts Nov. 9, 2006.

Air Carriers for Pilot Applications

The Pilot Records Improvement Act of 1996 requires an air carrier, before hiring an individual as a pilot, to request, with the individual's written consent, the Chief Driver licensing official of a state to perform a National Driver Register (NDR) file check. Any information you receive from the NDR should be made available to the employee. If you receive information from the NDR indicating that an individual is on file you will be provided with the name of the state, the address and telephone number in order to request a copy of the driver record to verify that it is the same individual. Information on the NDR file that was reported by the states during the past 5-years and any withdrawal action still in effect will be disclosed.

Air Travel Consumer Report for 1998

The Air Travel Consumer Report is a monthly product of the Department of Transportation's Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings. The report is designed to assist consumers with information on the quality of services provided by the airlines. This page links to reports from 1998.

The report is divided into four sections. These sections deal with flight delays, mishandled baggage, oversales and consumer complaints. Each section of the report is preceded by a brief explanation of how to read and understand the information provided.

The report is usually issued during the first week of each month. The data on flight delays, mishandled baggage, and consumer complaints are two months behind the issue date of the report, e.g. the report issued in early May has data from the month of March. Oversales are reported quarterly rather than monthly, and oversales figures may be slightly older than the other data in certain months. The report, which contains tables of information, is best printed in "landscape" orientation.

Dangers of drowsy driving some startling statistics

Drowsy driving causes more than 100,000 crashes a year, resulting in 40,000 injuries and 1,550 deaths. As tragic as these numbers are, they only tell a portion of the story. It is widely recognized that drowsy driving is underreported as a cause of crashes. And this doesn't include incidents caused by driver inattention.

Combating drowsy driving crashes among shift workers.

In 1996, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) embarked on an effort to reduce the effects that fatigue and driver inattention have on highway safety. While everyone is susceptible to drowsy-driving crashes, shift workers run a particularly high risk. Their natural sleep patterns are disrupted by working nights or long and irregular hours.

In collaboration with National Center on Sleep Disorders Research (NCSDR), NHTSA developed an education program to increase shift workers' awareness of the dangers of drowsy driving, help them to improve the quality of their sleep and reduce sleepiness, and ultimately, reduce the incidence of drowsy driving.


Transport on roads can be roughly grouped into two categories: transportation of goods and transportation of people. In many countries licensing requirements and safety regulations ensure a separation of the two industries.

The nature of road transportation of goods depends, apart from the degree of development of the local infrastructure, on the distance the goods are transported by road, the weight and volume of the individual shipment and the type of goods transported. For short distances and light, small shipments a van or pickup truck may be used. For large shipments even if less than a full truckload a truck is more appropriate. In some countries cargo is transported by road in horse drawn carriages, donkey carts or other non-motorized mode. Delivery services are sometimes considered a separate category from cargo transport. In many places fast food is transported on roads by various types of vehicles. For inner city delivery of small packages and documents bike couriers are quite common.