Daily or weekly checks

* Keep your vehicle clean, inside and out. Keep seatbelts clean to prevent dirt and moisture from damaging the mechanism.
* Check tire pressure. Properly inflated tires mean better mileage and safer driving.
* Check tires for damage or wear.
* Check that all lights are working.
* Check that windshield wipers are properly attached to wiper blades.
* If your wiper blades leave streaks on the window, replace them.
* Check under the hood when the engine is cold. Check that there is enough oil, water in the radiator, windshield washer fluid, brake fluid and battery fluid, if appropriate. Check all hoses for cracks or leaks and check fan belts for wear or slackness.

Criminal Code suspensions

You will receive a one-year license suspension the first time you are convicted of a Criminal Code offence.
If you are convicted of a second Criminal Code offence, your license will be suspended for three years. A third Criminal Code offence will get you a lifetime suspension from driving with the possibility of reinstatement after 10 years. Fourth time offenders convicted of a Criminal Code offence are suspended from driving for life with no possibility of reinstatement.
Convictions will remain on your driver’s record for a minimum of 10 years. The court can order a longer suspension if it believes that keeping you off the road will improve safety.
Your license will be suspended if you are convicted of any of the following Criminal Code offences:
* Driving or having care and control of a vehicle while your ability is impaired by alcohol or drugs
* Refusing to submit to a breath test for alcohol
* Failing or refusing to provide a breath sample for roadside testing
* Driving or having care and control of a vehicle when your blood alcohol concentration is more than 80 milligrams per 100 milliliters of blood (.08)
* Driving or having care and control of a boat, motorized or not, when your blood alcohol concentration is more than 80 milligrams per 100 milliliters of blood (.08)
* Failing to remain at the scene of a collision to escape criminal or civil liability
* Dangerous driving
* Causing bodily harm by criminal negligence
* Causing death by criminal negligence
* Failing to stop for police.

FY 2009 TCRP Problem Statements Sought

TRB’s Transit Cooperative Research Program has issued a request for problem statements identifying research needed for TCRP’s FY 2009 program. Research problem statements for the TCRP FY 2009 program are due June 15, 2008. These submittals form the basis for selection of the annual TCRP research program. The TCRP undertakes applied research and technical activities focusing on the needs of transit operating agencies. Research is conducted in all areas of public transportation, including operations, policy, planning, service configuration, engineering of vehicles and facilities, maintenance, human resources, and administration. If you have submitted a research problem statement in a previous year that was not selected, but is still a relevant transit research topic, please feel free to resubmit the problem statement for consideration. There are many good research topics that are not selected each year simply due to the level of funding available. Research problem statements must be resubmitted each year to receive further consideration. Submitting a research problem statement is easy. So, if you have any potential research topics, TRB would welcome your submission. New projects will be selected in the Fall of 2008.

Table of offences

Here are the demerit points for driving offences.
7 points
* Failing to remain at the scene of a collision
* Failing to stop for police
6 points
* Careless driving
* Racing
* Exceeding the speed limit by 50 km/h or more
* Failing to stop for a school bus
5 points
* Driver of bus failing to stop at unprotected railway crossing
4 points
* Exceeding the speed limit by 30 to 49 km/h
* Following too closely
3 points
* Exceeding the speed limit by 16 to 29 km/h
* Driving through, around or under a railway crossing barrier
* Failing to yield the right-of-way
* Failing to obey a stop sign, traffic light or railway crossing signal
* Failing to obey traffic control stop sign
* Failing to obey traffic control slow sign
* Failing to obey school crossing stop sign
* Failing to obey the directions of a police officer
* Driving the wrong way on a divided road
* Failing to report a collision to a police officer
* Improper driving where road is divided into lanes
* Crowding the driver’s seat
* Going the wrong way on a one-way road
* Driving or operating a vehicle on a closed road
* Crossing a divided road where no proper crossing is provided
* Failing to slow and carefully pass a stopped emergency vehicle
* Failing to stop at a pedestrian crossing
* Failing to move, where possible, into another lane when passing a stopped emergency vehicle
* Driving a vehicle that is equipped with or carrying a speed measuring warning device (such as a radar detector)
* Improper use of a high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane
2 points
* Failing to lower headlight beam
* Improper opening of a vehicle door
* Prohibited turns
* Towing people — on toboggans, bicycles, skis, for example
* Failing to obey signs
* Failing to share the road
* Improper right turn
* Improper left turn
* Failing to signal
* Unnecessary slow driving
* Reversing on a highway
* Driver failing to wear a seatbelt
* Driver failing to ensure infant passenger is secured
* Driver failing to ensure toddler passenger is secured
* Driver failing to ensure child is secured
* Driver failing to ensure passenger less than 16 years is wearing seatbelt
* Driver failing to ensure passenger less than 16 years is occupying a position with a seatbelt

Traffic beacons

A traffic beacon is a single flashing light hung over an intersection or placed over signs or on obstacles in the road.
Flashing red beacon
A flashing red beacon above an intersection or stop sign means you must come to a complete stop. Move through the intersection only when it is safe to do so.
Flashing yellow beacon
A flashing yellow beacon above an intersection, above a warning sign or on an obstruction in the road, warns you to drive with caution.

Traffic Restrictions Ahead for Sen. George Sellar Bridge Project

WENATCHEE – Some early morning east bound lane closures on the Senator George Sellar Bridge are planned over the next two weeks. Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) Geotechnical crews will be using a special drill to test the soils on the south side of the bridge’s approaches where supports for a new sidewalk structure will be constructed next year. The $13.5 million dollar project to add a third eastbound lane on the bridge will be advertised for private contractor bids this fall and will be built in 2009 and 2010. It will require the current sidewalks be removed so the deck can be re-configured for the new lane. A new 10-foot pedestrian structure will be added to the south side of the bridge.

The lane closures are necessary because the machine must be lowered from the bridge to the six planned drilling locations with a crane. To minimize traffic impacts, the closures will be in effect for the outside eastbound lane only, between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m. on the days they’re needed. The closures could begin as early as next Monday morning, but a closure on Wednesday, March 5th is certain. Technicians expect it will take about three days to drill and analyze each site, but the work could proceed faster or slower depending upon what type of soil and rock they encounter. Highway alerts will be sent to local media when a lane closure is needed as the drill is moved to a new site. Technicians won’t be working on weekends. Apple Capital Loop Trail users may be inconvenienced when the work moves to the Douglas County side of the bridge. One of the drill locations will block a few feet of the trail. “We’re asking trail users to watch out for the work and thanking them in advance for their patience and understanding,” said Waligorski.

Flashing red light

You must come to a complete stop at a flashing red light. Move through the intersection only when it is safe.
Flashing yellow light
A flashing yellow light means you should drive with caution when approaching and moving through the intersection.

Regulatory signs

These signs give a direction that must be obeyed. They are usually rectangular or square with a white or black background and black, white or colored letters. A sign with a green circle means you may or must do the activity shown inside the ring. A red circle with a line through it means the activity shown is not allowed.

25th anniversary of seatbelts - 60,000 lives saved

Twenty five years of seatbelt wearing laws have helped save 60,000 lives, Road Safety Minister Jim Fitzpatrick revealed today.

Seatbelts have prevented an estimated 60,000 deaths and 670,000 serious injuries since 31 January 1983 when seatbelts were made mandatory for drivers and front seat passengers.

But on the 25th anniversary of the law change all passengers are being reminded to belt up in the back as well as the front. New research shows 9 out of 10 people agree it is dangerous to travel in the back of a car without a seatbelt but only 7 in 10 adults actually wear belts when sitting in the back.

Jim Fitzpatrick said:

"Tens of thousands of lives have been saved since the first law on wearing seatbelts was introduced 25 years ago. Government campaigns have helped increase the numbers of people wearing seatbelts to more than 90% for drivers and front seat passengers but too many back seat passengers are still not belting up.

"With up to 15 drivers and front seat passengers killed each year by the impact of an unbelted rear seat passenger it is vital that everyone - young or old, travelling in the front or back - wears a seatbelt."

The Department for Transport is undertaking a major research project into the use of and attitudes towards seatbelts and will use the findings to inform a new seatbelts campaign which will launch towards the end of 2008.
Seatbelts timeline:

1965: It becomes compulsory to fit seatbelts in the front of cars built in Europe.

1970: "Clunk Click" TV commercials, starring Jimmy Saville show the dangers of being thrown through the windscreen in a collision, as wearing rates are very low.

1983: Front seatbelt wearing regulations for drivers and passengers (both adult and children) come into force.

1989: Wearing rear seatbelts become compulsory for children under 14.

1991: It becomes compulsory for adults to belt up in the back.

1993: "Elephant" TV commercial, shot in black and white, demonstrates the danger presented by an unrestrained back seat passenger in a crash, who can be thrown forward with the impact of three and a half tons.

1996: "Peter Pan" and "Doctor" radio commercials aimed at increasing awareness among children and teenagers are aired.

1998: "Julie" TV commercial comes as a reminder that unbelted rear seat passengers can not only injure themselves, but can also kill other people in the car.

1999: A cinema commercial "Vectorscope" screened nation wide in cinemas along with the "Julie" commercial.

2003: "Backwards" TV commercial demonstrates, with the help of a flying pizza, the difference that a simple click can make between life and death.

2007: "Julie" TV commercial is re-aired to educate a new generation about the importance of wearing a seatbelt in the back of the car.

Seatbelt facts:

* 75 % of passengers thrown from a car die. Unbelted occupants are 30 times more likely to be thrown from a car.

* In a crash at 30mph, if unrestrained, you will be thrown forward with a force up to 60 times your own bodyweight.

* The latest surveys show 93 per cent of adult front seat passengers and 94 per cent of drivers wear seatbelts. For back seat passengers, 93% of children (under 14) and 70% of adults are secured.

* All the safety features you paid for in your car were tested with the assumption you would be wearing a belt. Without a seatbelt, those safety features are not designed to work.

* If you are not wearing a seatbelt and you have a crash, there may be implications for how much your insurer might pay in respect of injuries.

* Once one person puts their seatbelt on, everyone else in the car is more likely to do so.

Traffic Signs and Lights

Traffic laws include the traffic signs and lights, pedestrian signals and pavement markings that tell drivers and other road users what they must do in certain situations. This chapter shows you what many of those signs, lights and markings look like and explains what they mean to drivers.

If your gas pedal sticks

First try to lift the pedal by slipping your foot under it. Do not reach down with your hands while the vehicle is moving. If this does not work, turn on your hazard lights, shift to neutral and stop as soon as you safely can, preferably off the road. Turn off the ignition and do not drive away. Call for help.

More rail stations to be made accessible

Rail Minister, Tom Harris, today announced additional funding for upgrades to railway stations across England and Wales, to make rail travel more accessible for disabled and older people and parents with pushchairs.

The Department for Transport's £370m Access for All programme funds the redevelopment of station infrastructure to provide step-free access from the station entrance to platforms, in addition to a range of more accessible facilities, such as improved lighting, hearing induction loops and passenger information screens.

Forty more stations, including Stalybridge, Rotherham, Walthamstow Central, Peterborough, Hemel Hempstead, Canterbury West, Alnmouth and Severn Tunnel Junction, will benefit under Main Scheme funding, paving the way for obstacle-free routes to be installed. A new selection of stations in Scotland will also be announced by DfT in due course. Network Rail will carry out feasibility studies at each station over the next 18 months to determine what changes need to be made, before they launch into the design and construction of the enhanced facilities. The upgrades are planned for completion between 2012 and 2015.

In addition, the Department will contribute £6.5m from the Small Schemes fund towards a £16.7m total investment, match-funded by train companies and local authorities, to upgrade facilities at a further 223 stations during 2008/09. This funding is set to deliver a wide range of infrastructure including more ramps and lifts, blue badge parking spaces, and improved passenger information systems. The Small Schemes programme is forecast to continue every year until 2015.

Rail Minister Tom Harris said:

"More people than ever before are taking the train but for some it can be like facing an obstacle course. That is why we have already invested £18m under Small Schemes funding to update train stations and make catching a train as easy as possible. I'm happy to announce this latest tranche of stations to receive Access for All funding, which will make a significant improvement to people's journeys."
Robin Gisby, Network Rail Director of Operations and Customer Services said:
"These essential new facilities will make station and platform access much easier for existing and new passengers, particularly people with disabilities, those carrying heavy luggage and parents with prams. "Our dedicated project team will conduct feasibility studies to identify the improvements necessary to provide level access. These could include, for example, lifts or ramps to subways and footbridges."

Dealing with emergencies

If you drive often or travel alone, you need to be ready to deal with emergencies. Here are some suggestions for coping with some common road emergencies.


Fog is a thin layer of cloud resting on the ground. Fog can reduce visibility for drivers, resulting in difficult driving conditions.

The best thing to do is to avoid driving in fog. Check weather forecasts and if there is a fog warning, delay your trip until it clears. If that is not possible or you get caught driving in fog, there are a number of safe driving tips you should follow. If visibility is decreasing rapidly, move off the road and into a safe parking area to wait for the fog to lift.


The Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) has today issued a Safety Bulletin in connection with a fire that broke out on the Bermudan-registered cruise ship Star Princess while it was on passage from Grand Cayman to Montego Bay, Jamaica on 23 March 2006. There were 2,690 passengers and 1,123 crew on board.

The seat of the fire was on an external balcony sited on deck 10 of the vessel's port side. The fire spread rapidly along adjacent balconies and within ten minutes had spread to decks above. It also spread internally. One passenger died as the result of smoke inhalation and 13 others were treated for the effects of smoke.

The cause of the fire has yet to be determined and the MAIB is continuing its investigation on behalf of the Bermuda Maritime Administration in cooperation with the United States Coast Guard (USCG) and the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

However, the investigation has already identified serious shortcomings in fire protection on ships' balconies which require urgent attention. The MAIB and its partners, therefore, have worked with the cruise industry world-wide to ensure that short-term measures are immediately put in place to safeguard passengers. These include

- increased vigilance on vessels with balconies, with consideration given to dedicated lookouts and additional fire patrols;
- a review of crew onboard training and response;
- advice to passengers and crew.

The industry has also agreed to implement medium-term structural measures as soon as practical.

The UK's Chief Inspector of Marine Accidents, Stephen Meyer, praised the industry for its speedy response. He said:

"Fires such as this are extremely rare and I am confident that the cruise industry has identified measures to ensure that a similar accident will not happen again. In the meantime we will continue with our investigation and to monitor the implementation of our recommendations."

Overdriving your headlights

You are overdriving your headlights when you go so fast that your stopping distance is farther than you can see with your headlights. This is a dangerous thing to do, because you may not give yourself enough room to make a safe stop. Reflective road signs can mislead you as well, making you believe you can see farther than you really can. This may cause you to overdrive your headlights if you are not careful.

High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) Lane

A High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lane is a specially designed lane that is designated for use by certain types of vehicles with a specified number of occupants. It can offer travel time savings to those who choose to carpool or take transit. HOV lanes can move a greater number of people than a general traffic lane, and encourage carpooling and transit use by providing travel time savings and a more reliable trip time. HOV lanes are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

HOV lanes benefit all drivers, not only those who carpool, in the following ways:

* Improves highway infrastructure by moving more people in fewer cars

* Reduces the number of vehicles on the road

* Reduces vehicle emissions and improves air quality

* Helps you conserve fuel, save money (by sharing the cost of driving) and reduce stress.

HOV lanes on provincial highways are reserved for vehicles carrying at least two people (i.e. a driver plus at least one passenger in any of the following passenger vehicles: cars, minivans, motorcycles, pickup trucks, taxis, buses and limousines).

* The HOV lane is separated from the other general traffic lanes by a striped buffer zone. It is illegal and unsafe to cross the striped buffer pavement markings.

* Certain vehicles are exempt from the HOV lane rules. Buses can use an HOV lane at any time, regardless of the number of occupants. Emergency vehicles such as police, fire and ambulance are also exempt from the restrictions.

* If you use the HOV lanes improperly, you can be stopped and ticketed by a police officer. You will be required to re-enter the general lanes at the next entry/exit zone.

Driving along a freeway

Once on the freeway, a safe driver travels at a steady speed, looking forward and anticipating what’s going to happen on the road ahead. Traffic should keep to the right, using the left lanes for passing.

As in city driving, your eyes should be constantly moving, scanning the road ahead, to each side and behind. Look ahead to where you are going to be in the next 15 to 20 seconds, or as far ahead as you can see when you travel at faster speeds. Remember to keep scanning and check your mirrors frequently.

Stay clear of large vehicles. Because of their size, they block your view more than other vehicles. Leave space around your vehicle. This will let you see clearly in every direction and will give you time and space to react.

Be careful not to cut off any vehicle, large or small, when making a lane change or joining the flow of traffic. It is dangerous and illegal for a slower moving vehicle to cut in front of a faster moving vehicle.

Use the far left lane of a multi-lane freeway to pass traffic moving slower than the speed limit, but don’t stay there. Drive in the right-hand lane when possible. On many freeways with three or more lanes in each direction, large trucks cannot travel in the far left lane and must use the lane to the right for passing. Get into the habit of driving in the right lane, leaving the other lanes clear for passing.


Passing is changing lanes to move past a slower vehicle. While all public roads have speed limits, not all vehicles travel at the same speed. For example, cyclists, road service vehicles and drivers ahead that are preparing to turn are usually slower than the through traffic. You may want to pass some slow-moving vehicles when you are following them.

Never overtake and pass another vehicle unless you are sure you can do so without danger to yourself or others. Don’t pass moving snow plows under any conditions. If in doubt, do not pass.

Here are the steps for passing a vehicle:

1. Use your left-turn signal to show that you want to pass and check that the way is clear ahead and behind before moving into the passing lane.

2. Watch for bicycles and small vehicles that may be hidden from view in front of the vehicle you are about to pass. Also watch for vehicles that may be turning left in front of you and vehicles or pedestrians entering the road from another road or driveway.

3. Change lanes only after signaling. After overtaking, signal that you want to move back into the lane you started from, and when you can see the entire front of the vehicle you are passing in your inside mirror, make the lane change. Be careful not to cut off a vehicle by suddenly moving in front of it.

4. If the vehicle you are passing speeds up, do not race. Go back to your original lane. And do not speed up when another driver is trying to pass you. It is unlawful and dangerous.

Do not pass within 30 meters of a pedestrian crossing.

When passing parked vehicles, watch carefully for people suddenly opening doors or for doors opened to load and unload.

Motorcycles, bicycles, limited-speed motorcycles and mopeds often need to pull to the left or right side of their lane to avoid dangerous road conditions or to be seen by other drivers. Do not take this as an invitation to pass in the same lane. If you do want to pass these vehicles, do so by changing lanes.

When another vehicle wants to pass you, you must move to the right and let it pass. When being passed on an undivided road where the passing driver has pulled into the opposite lane, pay attention to oncoming traffic and move closer to the right side of the lane. Be prepared to slow down to let the passing driver get in front of you more quickly to prevent a collision. On many high-speed roads with three or more lanes in each direction, trucks are not allowed to drive in the far left-hand lane. This means that the lane next to it is the truck passing lane. If you are in this lane and a truck wants to pass, move into the right-hand lane as soon as you can.


Rail passengers on the new South Western Franchise are set to be the first outside of London to benefit from smart ticketing.

Bidders for the new franchise will be asked to set out how a new smart ticketing system could be introduced across the mainline franchise area from 2009 onwards.

The operator of the new franchise will have to ensure the new system also accepts existing Oyster products in London zones 1 - 6. This will ensure that future passengers can use Oyster Pay as You Go products as well as the newly available smart tickets.

In advance of this introduction a zonal fares structure will be introduced for single and return fares across the Capital's rail network.

The details are contained within the Invitation to Tender that has been issued to bidders for the new Franchise. It covers services currently operated by South West Trains and the Island Line on the Isle of Wight - both currently operated by Stagecoach plc.

The ITT specifies the minimum level of service the Department will require from the new operator. Bidders will be asked to show how they will meet the requirements it sets out and how they will ensure value for money for the taxpayer.

It details the minimum number of services the Government will require the operator to provide. This is based on the current timetable that has led to a marked improvement in performance. Only minor changes are suggested.

The specification will require bidders to address current and anticipated passenger growth and ensure that performance continues to improve. In particular they will have to set out how security at stations and on the trains can be improved where necessary.

Transport Secretary Alistair Darling said:

"As technology advances it is vital that we ensure that future passengers benefit from the improvements it can bring.

"Passengers on these routes will benefit from smart integrated ticketing across the franchise area - we will be working with train operators to ensure similar benefits can be introduced for passengers elsewhere.

"This is just one improvement the new operator of the South Western Franchise will be required to introduce. Additional capacity, safer stations and better pricing structures will all lead to a better service to passengers."

There are four bidders for the South Western franchise; Arriva Trains South West Limited (Arriva plc); First South Western Limited (FIrstGroup plc); Great South Western Railway Company Limited (a joint venture between GNER Holdings Limited and MTR Corporation Limited of Hong Kong) and Stagecoach South Western Trains Limited (Stagecoach Group plc).

The franchise will become operational on 4th February 2007 and will run for up to 10 years, the final three years being dependent on performance. The winner will be announced in Autumn 2006.

Three-point turn

On narrow roads you need to make a three-point turn to change directions. a three-point turn starts from the far right side of the road. Make sure you do not make a three-point turn on a curve in the road, on or near a railway crossing or hilltop, or near a bridge or tunnel that blocks your view.

Signal for a left turn. When the way is clear in both directions, move forward, turning the steering wheel sharply left towards the curb on the far side of the road. When you have reached the left side of the road, stop. Shift the vehicle into reverse. Signal a right turn. After checking that the way is still clear, turn the steering wheel sharply to the right, while backing up slowly to the other side of the road. Stop. Shift to forward gear and check traffic.

Stopping for school buses

School buses in Ontario come in a range of sizes. All are chrome yellow and display the words “School Bus.”
You must stop whenever you approach a stopped school bus with its upper alternating red lights flashing, regardless of whether you are behind the bus or approaching it from the front. When approaching the bus from the front, stop at a safe distance for children to get off the bus and cross the road in front of you. If you are coming from behind the bus, stop at least 20 meters away. Do not go until the bus moves or the lights have stopped flashing.
If you are on a road with a median strip, only vehicles coming from behind the bus must stop. (A median is a physical barrier such as a raised, lowered earth or paved strip constructed to separate traffic travelling in different directions. Vehicles cannot cross over a median strip.)
You must obey the school bus law on any road, no matter how many lanes or what the speed limit. Be prepared to stop for a school bus at any time, not just within school hours.
As well as the upper alternating red flashing lights, school buses use a stop sign arm on the driver’s side of the bus. This arm, a standard stop sign with alternating flashing red lights at top and bottom, swings out after the upper alternating red lights begin to flash. Remain stopped until the arm folds away and all lights stop flashing.
Note: It is illegal to fail to stop for a stopped school bus that has its red lights flashing. If you don’t stop, you can be fined $400 to $2,000 and get six demerit points for a first offence. If you are convicted a second time within five years, the penalty is a fine of $1,000 to $4,000 and six demerit points. You could also go to jail for up to six months. In Ontario, school bus drivers and other witnesses can report vehicles that have illegally passed a school bus.
If you are the vehicle’s registered owner, these same fines may be applied to you. If you do not pay the fine, you will not be able to renew your vehicle permit.
Watch for school buses near railway crossings. All school buses must stop at all railway crossings. The upper alternating red lights are not used for these stops, so be alert.


Karen Buck, Minister for Local Transport, today announced £2.01 million in funding for a major renovation of six quays on the Isles of Scilly.

The quays are on the islands of St Martin's, St Agnes, Bryher and Tresco. They are used by the small ferryboats that connect these islands with the main island of St Mary's. The work will involve major repairs to the Victorian quays as well as widening and lengthening of the quays to improve safety. It will also provide new seawalls, separate freight handling and passenger embarkation areas, shelters for waiting passengers and facilities for the disabled.

Karen Buck said:

"This is good news for the Isles of Scilly. Ferries are the buses and trucks of the islands, and this scheme will provide both operators and passengers with better facilities.

"Local people will see other benefits as the works will enable an improved ferry service to be provided, not only for tourism and agriculture, but also for all the everyday services that islanders rely upon".

The Department for Transport contributed to this scheme along with the Duchy of Cornwall and the Tresco Estate.


An additional 17 new four-carriage trains for the south west trains fleet were announced by DfT today.

The new trains will provide over 4,500 extra seats for passengers on the busy Basingstoke, Alton and Reading routes to London Waterloo. The trains will be procured from Siemens and owned and leased by Angel Trains to the South Western franchisee.

The deal will enable South West Trains to run more 12-carriage trains at peak times to increase capacity on busy commuter routes. The extra trains will help boost service reliability and performance by improving boarding times at stations along these routes.

Most of the new trains will be in service by the end of the year. They will be used by South West Trains and the new operator of the South Western Franchise when it commences on 04 February 2007.

Rail Minister Derek Twigg said:

"This is good news for passengers in the south west. The new trains will ease overcrowding on busy routes and boost reliability. Record numbers of people are travelling by train and these extra new trains will allow us to support future growth.

"We want to build on recent improvements to services in the south west, including £750m investment in rolling stock, a new timetable that has better matched services to demand and over 90% of trains on time since September 2005."

Stewart Palmer, managing director of South West Trains said:

"We are delighted that the Department for Transport has recognised the need to introduce more trains for the ever-growing number of passengers travelling on our busy network. These will provide a vitally needed extra 4500 peak seats."

Haydn Abbot, managing director of Angel Trains added:

"Including this new purchase, Angel Trains has now invested nearly £2.8 billion in new trains in the UK since privatisation. We're proud to be helping to improve the quality and reliability of train rolling stock and offering greater benefits to passengers."

Stopping at railway crossings

All railway crossings on public roads in Ontario are marked with large red and white ‘X’ signs. Watch for these signs and be prepared to stop. You may also see yellow advance warning signs and large ‘X’ pavement markings ahead of railway crossings. Some railway crossings have flashing signal lights and some use gates or barriers to keep drivers from crossing the tracks when a train is coming. Some less travelled crossings have stop signs posted. Remember it can take up to two kilometers for a train to stop under full emergency braking. On private roads, railway crossings may not be marked, so watch carefully.

When you come to a railway crossing, remember:

* Slow down, listen and look both ways to make sure the way is clear before crossing the tracks.

* If a train is coming, stop at least five meters from the nearest rail or gate. Do not cross the track until you are sure the train or trains have passed.

* Never race a train to a crossing.

* If there are signal lights, wait until they stop flashing and, if the crossing has a gate or barrier, wait until it rises, before you cross the tracks.

* Never drive around, under or through a railway gate or barrier while it is down, being lowered or being raised. It is illegal and dangerous.

* Avoid stopping in the middle of railway tracks; for example, in heavy traffic, make sure you have enough room to cross the tracks completely before you begin to cross.

* Avoid shifting gears while crossing tracks.

* If you get trapped on a crossing, immediately get everyone out and away from the vehicle. Move to a safe place and then contact authorities.

* Buses and other public vehicles are required to stop at railway crossings that are not protected by gates, signal lights, or a stop sign. School buses must stop at railway crossings whether or not they are protected by gates or signal lights. Watch for these buses and be prepared to stop behind them.

* If you are approaching a railway crossing with a stop sign, you must stop unless otherwise directed by a flagman.

Obey police

When police officers are directing traffic, you must follow their directions, even if the directions are different from traffic lights or signs.

When a police officer signals you to pull your vehicle over, you must pull over as far to the right as you safely can and come to a complete stop. Stay in your vehicle and wait for the police officer. You must immediately, upon the police officer’s request, surrender your driver’s licence, vehicle permit (or copy) and insurance. Contrary to popular belief, you do not have 24 hours to present these documents. If you do not obey a police officer’s direction to pull over, you risk being fined (up to $25,000), having your licence suspended or even serving time in prison.


Transport Secretary Alistair Darling today unveiled 32 locations around the UK coast that have been identified as Marine Environmental High Risk Areas (MEHRAs). The primary purpose of MEHRAs will be to inform mariners of areas of high environmental sensitivity where there is a realistic risk of pollution from merchant shipping.

The introduction and status of MEHRAs follow recommendations made by the late Lord Donaldson in his report Safer Ships, Cleaner Seas following the Braer tanker disaster off the Shetland Islands in January 1993. He said that their primary purpose was "... to inform [ships'] Masters of areas where there is a real prospect of a problem arising.".

The locations of MEHRAs have been identified after taking into account shipping risk, environmental sensitivity and other environmental protection measures already in place at each location.

Mr Darling said:

"The Government has looked very carefully at every part of the UK coastline and assessed the potential impact of commercial shipping on the local environment. As a result, we have identified 32 locations around the UK that should be given MEHRA protection.

"MEHRAs will be an essential aid to passage planning since their primary purpose is to inform ships' masters of areas where they need to exercise even more caution than usual. This is just part of the information available to mariners to enable them to navigate UK waters safely."

MEHRAs will now be notified by a Marine Guidance Note to mariners who will be expected to exercise an even higher degree of care than usual when passing through them. They will also be marked on Admiralty charts.

Mr Darling made his announcement in a Written Statement to Parliament.

Keep a clear view

Keep a clear view when driving. Do not put anything in your windows that will block your view. The windows of your vehicle must not be coated with any material that keeps you from seeing out in any direction. Neither should the windshield or front door windows be coated to keep someone from seeing inside the vehicle.


Transport Minister Stephen Ladyman today urged all States to share responsibility in meeting the terrorist threat to transport, and emphasised the importance of international co-operation and lesson-sharing in building the capabilities of all States to counter the threat.

Dr Ladyman was speaking at a Ministerial Conference on International Transport Security in Tokyo, where he addressed sessions on maritime, aviation and land transport security. He said:

"The UK's transport security arrangements have developed over time, through long experience and in the light of lessons learned from such painful events as Lockerbie and, much more recently, the attacks on public transport in London.

"We have always sought to share our learning and experience with others, and of course to learn from them in turn. The Conference is a valuable opportunity to compare perspectives with key international partners on the nature of the threat to transport and on how it can best be countered. I am therefore very pleased to participate in this Conference, and grateful to the Japanese Government for the opportunity to do so."

Dr Ladyman underlined the need for security which is robust but also practical and sustainable. He emphasised the need for each State to ensure that its relevant Government agencies pool their information and expertise, in order to understand and respond effectively to the terrorist threat.

A key theme of the conference was the importance of States sharing experience and best practice. A number of Ministers commented on the value they attached to the help given to them by the UK, especially since July 7th.

Commenting on present security arrangements, Dr Ladyman said:

"Very real progress has been made in recent years to make international transport by air, sea and rail more secure. The Conference has paid proper recognition to the work of all involved, whether in industry, in government, or in international organisations such as ICAO and IMO.

"But we must not lower our guard. The threat remains a real one, and worldwide, new threats and challenges continue to emerge. The responsibility for meeting them is something that must be shared by all States. We in the UK will continue to play our full part in this critically important work.

"The Ministerial declarations agreed at this conference take us a step closer to the level of international cooperation that we need to meet these challenges."

Safe and Responsible Driving

Being a safe and responsible driver takes a combination of knowledge, skill and attitude.

To begin, you must know the traffic laws and driving practices that help traffic move safely. Breaking these “rules of the road” is the major cause of collisions.

Traffic laws are made by federal, provincial and municipal governments, and police from each level can enforce them. If you break a traffic law, you may be fined, sent to jail or lose your driver’s license. If you get caught driving while your license is suspended for a Criminal Code conviction, your vehicle may even be impounded.

But you need to do more than just obey the rules. You must care about the safety of others on the road. Everyone is responsible for avoiding collisions. Even if someone else does something wrong, you may be found responsible for a collision if you could have done something to avoid it.

Because drivers have to cooperate to keep traffic moving safely, you must also be predictable, doing what other people using the road expect you to do. And you must be courteous. Courteous driving means giving other drivers space to change lanes, not cutting them off and signaling your turns and lane changes properly.

You must be able to see dangerous situations before they happen and to respond quickly and effectively to prevent them. This is called defensive or strategic driving. There are collision avoidance courses available where you can practice these techniques.

Defensive driving is based on three ideas: visibility, space and communication.

Visibility is about seeing and being seen. You should always be aware of traffic in front, behind and beside you. Keep your eyes constantly moving, scanning the road ahead and to the side and checking your mirrors every five seconds or so. The farther ahead you look, the less likely you will be surprised, and you will have time to avoid any hazards. Make sure other drivers can see you by using your signal lights as required.

Managing the space around your vehicle lets you see and be seen and gives you time and space to avoid a collision. Leave a cushion of space ahead, behind and to both sides. Because the greatest risk of a collision is in front of you, stay well back.

Communicate with other road users to make sure they see you and know what you are doing. Make eye contact with pedestrians, cyclists and drivers at intersections and signal whenever you want to slow down, stop, turn or change lanes. If you need to get another person’s attention, use your horn.

Motorcycle license exchanges

Exchange agreements apply to licensed motorcycle drivers from Canada, the United States and Switzerland. If you hold a motorcycle license from another Canadian jurisdiction that is equivalent to Ontario’s restricted Class M license, you will be able to exchange your license. If you have less than two years of driving experience, you may get credit for your experience and enter Level Two of the graduated licensing system. Once you have a total of two years of driving experience, you may take the Level Two road test to earn full driving privileges.

There is no exchange agreement for motorcycle drivers from Japan, Korea, Austria, Germany, Great Britain, France or Belgium. However, credit for holding a motorcycle license from one of these countries will be granted for previous motorcycle experience when applying for a Class M motorcycle license in Ontario.

Driving customs vary from place to place. That is why experienced drivers from other countries should familiarize themselves with Ontario’s laws. The Official Driver’s Handbook and the Ministry of Transportation website are good resources.


The Department for Transport has today published National Statistics on the travel habits of residents in Great Britain.

The main changes between 1992/94 and 2004 include:

* The average annual distance travelled by residents in Great Britain rose by 5 per cent to 6,800 miles in 2004, reflecting a 12 per cent increase in the average length of trip from 6.1 miles to 6.8 miles.
* The average number of trips per person per year fell by 6 per cent to about 990.
* The average time spent travelling around Great Britain has remained at about 360 hours per person per year, or about an hour a day.
* The proportion of households in Great Britain without access to a car fell from 33 per cent to 26 per cent in 2004.
* The proportion of women holding full car driving licences increased from 54 to 61 per cent, while the proportion of men holding licences remained at 81 per cent. Licence holding among all those aged 60-69 rose from 57 to 72 per cent.
* Car travel accounts for four fifths of the total distance travelled. Overall, the distance travelled by car drivers per person per year increased by 8 per cent.
* The number of walking trips per person per year fell by a fifth.
* The number of commuting trips per person per year fell by 7 per cent, but the average trip length rose by 13 per cent.
* The proportion of primary-aged children walking to school declined from 61 to 50 per cent, with an increase from 30 to 41 per cent in the numbers being driven to school. For secondary school pupils, the proportion walking to school stayed about the same at 44 per cent, whilst those going by car rose from 16 to 22 per cent.

Applying for a license

To apply for a license, you must show proof of your legal name, date of birth (showing day, month and year of birth) and signature. Documents must be original and valid. Photocopies and expired documents are not acceptable. Any one of the following documents may be used to satisfy the requirement to provide proof of legal name, complete date of birth and signature:

* Passport (Canadian or foreign)

* Canadian Citizenship Card with photo

* Permanent immigration documents

o Permanent Resident Card (PRC) or

o Record of Landing (Form 1000) or

o Confirmation of Permanent Residence (Form IMM 5292)

* Temporary immigration documents

o Student Authorization (IMM 1442)

o Employment Authorization(IMM 1442)

o Visitor Record (IMM 1442)

o Temporary Resident’s Permit (IMM 1442)

o Refugee Status Claim (IMM 1434)

o Acknowledgement of Intent to Claim Refugee Status (IMM 7703 with photo)

o Report Pursuant to the Immigration Act (IMM 1442 with photo)

What kind of licence?

In Ontario, there are 14 different kinds of licences. Each one qualifies you to drive a different type of vehicle. The class of licence you have must match the type of vehicle you are driving. You need a Class G licence to drive a car, van or small truck. You must have a Class G licence before you can be licensed to drive any other type of vehicle. The only exception is motorcycles. You may get a motorcycle licence (Class M) without first getting a Class G licence. The Driver’s Licence Classification Chart shows you what class of licence you need to drive different vehicles.

For information on the skills and knowledge you’ll need to get a Class M motorcycle licence, study the Official Motorcycle Handbook.

You can get information on other kinds of licences — classes A, B, C, D, E and F — in the Official Truck Handbook and the Official Bus Handbook. If you want to drive a vehicle equipped with air brakes, the Official Air Brake Handbook tells you how to qualify.

Some recreational vehicles have special licence requirements. If you plan to drive an off-road vehicle or snowmobile, read the Off-Road Vehicles section in the Official Driver’s handbook.

You do not need a licence to ride a bicycle in Ontario.

Free travel for more than a million North West pensioners and eligible disabled

More than one million people across the North West can travel wherever they want for free on local buses from today.

Almost 1.2million bus pass holders in the region will be able to take advantage as the new England-wide concession comes into effect.

This expansion of the previous local scheme entitles anyone aged 60 or over, as well as eligible disabled people, to use their free bus pass across England during the off-peak period.

Marking the launch of the new bus pass, Transport Minister Rosie Winterton said:

"For many older or disabled people the bus can be a lifeline - providing access to employment, healthcare and other essential services, as well as allowing them to visit family and friends.

"That is why we have been working hard to deliver an increasingly better deal. The extension of the free bus pass scheme means no older or disabled person in England need be prevented from bus travel by cost alone, and I am pleased that we have been able to deliver this major benefit."

Lancashire-based Gordon Lishman, the Director General at Age Concern, added:

"Free bus travel is very popular with older people and can really help to improve their quality of life. Without these concessions, many older people on a low income would struggle to get to their local shops, banks or hospital, or visit family and friends - which may leave them feeling isolated and cut off from society. Having the means to travel independently is incredibly important to older people."

An extra £212 million has been allocated solely to fund the change, ensuring that in total around £1 billion a year will be invested by the Government in the provision of free bus travel.

When free local travel was introduced in 2006 one of the key pieces of feedback was that people were frustrated by being constrained to only travel in a local authority's area. The new concession removes the barrier of council boundaries enabling people to visit family, friends, shops or doctors' surgeries even in they are in a neighbouring authority.

Nationally, funding of £212m. £217m and £223m will be provided over the next three years to help local authorities cover any extra costs. The grants have bee based on a formula covering areas such as eligible local population to visitor numbers. This means that the North West will get an extra £28.468m, an increase in 23 per cent over what was spent in the last financial year and enough to pay for more than 28 million additional bus trips. This money is on top of the extra £350m given to local authorities following the move from free half-fare to free local travel in 2006. An extra £31m has also been given to local authorities for the cost of issuing new smart card travel passes.

Where is impoundment facilities located?

Impound facilities are located within a reasonable towing distance of the inspection location they serve. One impound facility may provide service to more than one inspection location if the facility is in close proximity to multiple inspection sites.
Impound facilities are selected based on their ability to provide secure, reliable service at a reasonable cost.

Who does this program affect?

Any commercial vehicle that is operated by a Commercial Vehicle Operator's Registration (CVOR) or National Safety Code (NSC) holder or one that would require CVOR or NSC registration and has a gross weight or registered gross weight exceeding 4,500 kg may be subject to impound if it is operated with critical defects. This includes buses, trucks, and trailers drawn by these vehicles.

How does the Vehicle Impoundment Program work?

A driver caught driving while his/her license is suspended for a Criminal Code conviction will be given an impound notice (issued by the Registrar of Motor Vehicles) by an enforcement officer. The vehicle will immediately be towed to an impound yard for a minimum of 45 days. The vehicle owner or plate holder must pay the towing and storage costs before the vehicle is released at the end of the impoundment period.

IDOT and Illinois State Police battle snow storm; Motorists urged to drive with extreme caution

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and the Illinois State Police (ISP) are responding in full force to the latest round of severe winter weather. Heavy snow blanketed Illinois - including more than five inches of snow falling in Chicago and more than 12 inches in Springfield – making for treacherous driving conditions. Governor Blagojevich, IDOT Secretary Milton R. Sees and ISP Director Larry Trent urge drivers to delay travel plans when possible but if they must drive to use extreme caution and allow for plenty of extra time.

“We’re deploying our resources aggressively statewide to keep people safe. IDOT deployed 1,700 plow trucks over night to try to ease the morning commute and those trucks will keep at it until our highways are clear of ice and snow,” said Governor Blagojevich.

“IDOT is urging drivers to delay travel plans if possible until our plow trucks have had a chance to get the roads cleared,” said Sees. “And if motorists must drive, they should make sure their gas tanks are full, their cars and tires are in good condition and they allow plenty of extra travel time. And of course, please give plenty of room to our plow drivers so they can do their jobs. ”

"The Illinois State Police have responded to numerous calls for service ranging from vehicles in the ditches to multiple vehicle crashes with injuries," said Illinois State Police Director Larry G. Trent. "Motorists are urged to use extreme caution when driving, slow down, and allow plenty of time to make it safely to their destination. Motorists must yield to moving emergency vehicles, including highway maintenance vehicles, displaying oscillating, rotating, or flashing lights. Additionally, Scott’s Law requires a driver to change lanes, if safe to do so, or reduce speed and proceed with caution when approaching a stationary emergency vehicle displaying flashing warning lights."

There were three reported fatalities in two crashes in LaSalle County since last night, and both were considered weather-related. The first was on County Highway 3 at 8 p.m. The second crash was a double-fatality on westbound I-80 involving a pick-up truck and cement truck at about 2 a.m. In addition, there were numerous reports of spin outs and fender-benders across the state. Officials said these are mainly caused by motorists driving too fast for the conditions.

The Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) is in frequent contact with local emergency management officials throughout the state to determine if any state assistance is needed to help communities deal with storm-related issues. While no state assistance has been requested at this time, IEMA continues to stand ready to act quickly if help is needed.

Following are some safety tips that all drivers should take in mind before venturing out on the roads:
  • Plan ahead and make sure before you head out: is your trip necessary?
  • Don’t crowd the plow – remember, a snowplow operator’s field of vision is restricted. You may see them, but they may not see you.
  • Watch out for black ice – roads that appear clear may be treacherous. Take it slow when approaching intersections, off-ramps, bridges, and shady areas – all are prone to black.
  • Always keep your gas tank at least two-thirds full to prevent the vehicle’s fuel line from freezing.
  • Dress warmly for the weather—dress in layers of loose-fitting, lightweight clothing in anticipation of unexpected winter weather emergencies.
  • Do not travel unless absolutely necessary—if you do have to make a trip, check the forecast and plan ahead with safety in mind.
  • Make sure someone is aware of your travel route.
  • Always carry an emergency car care kit that contains jumper cables, flares or reflectors, windshield washer fluid a small ice scraper, traction material, blankets, non-perishable food and a first aid kit.
  • Always carry a cell phone.
Always wear a safety belt.


SMARTRISK Heroes is an internationally acclaimed travelling road show that encourages young people to choose to take smart risks. The goal is to help youth see the risks in their everyday lives and to take those risks in the smartest way possible so that they can enjoy life to the fullest.
SMARTRISK Heroes combines a large-scale full-motion DVD presentation with a live talk given by a young injury survivor, who speaks candidly about how the injury has affected his or her life and presents the positive choices that can be made to reduce the risk of injury. The program's five key messages are: Buckle Up, Look First, Wear the Gear, Get Trained, Drive Sober.
SMARTRISK, a non-profit injury prevention organization, was founded in 1992 by a pediatric heart surgeon who was so distressed at the toll injury was taking on young lives that he left a career in medicine to devote his life to injury prevention.

Vehicle Impoundment

Under Ontario’s Vehicle Impoundment Program, drivers who are caught driving while their license is suspended for a Criminal Code conviction will have the vehicle they are driving impounded for a minimum of 45 days.
Regardless of whether the vehicle is rented, leased or loaned to a friend or family member, the vehicle will be impounded. The vehicle owner will be liable for all towing and impoundment costs.
Be Responsible
Vehicle owners are responsible for taking all reasonable steps to ensure that every person who drives their vehicle has a valid driver’s license. This includes making sure the driver does not have an ignition interlock condition on their license.
To verify a valid driver's license through the Ministry of Transportation:
* Call 1-900-565-6555 ($2.50 per cheque applied to phone bill)
* Access Ministry Online Services ($2.00 per cheque payable by Visa or MasterCard)
* Obtain a driver's abstract at a Driver and Vehicle Issuing Office ($12.00 per abstract) or Service Ontario Kiosk ($13.00 per abstract).

Lose it for Life

Longer Suspension Periods for Repeat Offenders
Drivers, who offend and are convicted of Criminal Code driving related offences, lose their driving privileges for:
* One year on a first conviction;
* Three years on a second conviction;
* Life on a third conviction, which may be reduced to 10 years if certain conditions are met; and
* Life on a fourth conviction with no possibility of ever having an Ontario driver’s licence again.
In addition, driving-related Criminal Code convictions remain on a driver’s record. Drivers must be conviction free for 10 years before they will be considered to have a clean driving record. This applies to convictions since September 30, 1993.

Ignition Interlock

There are about 15,000 drinking and driving convictions recorded in Ontario. Approximately, three-quarters of convicted drinking drivers are first-time offenders.
In an effort to curb drinking and driving the Ontario government introduced tough measures against drinking and driving. These include increased suspension periods for repeat offenders, a mandatory assessment and education or treatment program, and increased fines and vehicle impoundment for those who continue to drive while suspended.
In addition, in 2001, Ontario introduced its Ignition Interlock Program. As of December 23, 2001, individuals who commit an impaired driving offence under the Criminal Code of Canada and are subsequently convicted are subject to this program.

Rosie Winterton calls for Technology & Innovation to help cut transport emissions

Transport Minister Rosie Winterton told a conference of national transport operators in Sheffield today (10th March) that the UK's transport system can make a major contribution to cutting CO2 emissions, with the help of innovative lower carbon technologies.

In keynote speech at the Yorkshire Green Fleet event, the Minister, who is also Minister for Yorkshire and the Humber, said the government wants to encourage the development of cutting edge technology and be seen as a world leader in reducing carbon emissions.

She said:

"Tackling carbon emissions from transport remains a challenging issue. For the sake of generations to come we need to research, develop and rapidly adopt low carbon transport technologies.

"The Government has an important role to play by supporting the development of new, cleaner technologies - and we are already making progress in a number of ways."

In her speech, the Minister highlighted a number of sustainable transport projects already underway in Yorkshire and the Humber. These include:

* A project between Sheffield Community Transport and Cenex to develop a low-carbon minibus for community transport

* A partnership between Optare in Leeds and Traction Technology Ltd to develop a hybrid bus vehicle with significantly improved carbon performance. It is hoped to get this into mass production standard within the next 12 months.

* A number of local authorities across Yorkshire are looking at how they can use biomethane for their own fleets

In addition, Sheffield City Council has been recognised for its work to reduce carbon emissions and improve air quality by being awarded Beacon Status in 2007 for "delivering cleaner air". Initiatives in the city include:

* The South Yorkshire Care4Air campaign - an awareness raising campaign highlighting air quality issues and encouraging practical action to reduce emissions

* Sheffield Air Map - an interactive website recording and disseminating air quality data

* Sheffield Council are also considering a trial of new electric smart vehicles for use as part of their local authority fleet

Rosie Winterton said support for the development of greener vehicle technologies is expanding. This includes at least £30 million for a new Low Carbon Vehicles Innovation Platform to support leading edge research and development projects within the UK. The Department for Transport is also providing funding to the new Energy Technologies Institute to develop low carbon transport.

She said private sector fleets such as supermarkets, hauliers and delivery services also have an important role to play. Improved environmental performance could result in reduced fuel costs.

Efforts are also underway to improve the carbon performance of new passenger cars - the UK is supporting mandatory EU targets for vehicle fuel efficiency and Vehicle Excise Duty and company car tax regimes have been strengthened to encourage the purchase of cleaner vehicles.

The Green Fleet event has been organised by Sheffield City Council and Cenex, the UK's Centre of Excellence for Low Carbon and Fuel Cell Technologies.

Winter Tires … right for the season

Are your tires the right ones for winter driving? Do you drive where there's a lot of snow? The condition and type of tires you use are important for safety.
If you are like most vehicle owners, you probably have "all-season" tires on your vehicle. While they are designed to handle most driving conditions, they may not be suitable in heavy snow.
All-Season Tires - Good all-weather performance
Not as effective in heavy snow and slush.
Wide or Hi-Performance Tires - Unless designed for snow, traction is limited in snowy conditions.
Winter Tires - Deeper tread. Best for snow, slush and on ice, as well as wet and dry roads.
Studded Tires - Most effective on wet ice when the temperature is near zero.
All-season tires can begin to lose their grip when the temperature drops below -10° C. Winter tires are made for cold and snowy conditions. They remain more flexible than all-season tires in colder temperatures and the deeper tread pattern allows the tire to clear itself of snow as it rotates. Studded tires are most effective on wet ice when the temperature is near zero, but don't outperform other tires in other winter conditions.

Driving and winter

Stay alert, slow down and stay in control — the three key elements of safe winter driving. Drive according to highway and weather conditions. Keep a safe distance between you and the vehicle in front of you. Avoid situations where you may have to brake suddenly on a slippery surface.

New bus pass will open more of the countryside for disabled people in the North West

The Department for Transport and The National Trust have teamed up to identify more than thirty National Trust sites that will be even more accessible to disabled visitors following the launch of the national bus concession in two weeks time.

And three stunning North West attractions are in the list of National Trust sites hoping to see more visitors following the launch of the new concession scheme.

They are: Tatton Park, a neo-classical mansion set among 1,000 acres of deer park near Knutsford in Cheshire; Fell Foot Park, a beautiful country park at the edge of Lake Windermere at Ulverston in Cumbria; and Dunham Massey, a Georgian mansion and grounds near Altrincham, Cheshire.

Launched on 1st April, the new Concessionary Bus Pass will entitle eligible disabled people and those aged 60 or over to travel on local off-peak buses anywhere in England for free, including to some of the country's most beautiful buildings and landscapes.

All easily reached by local bus, with a stop less than half a mile away, the sites offer improved disabled access (including the use of powered mobility vehicles).

Some locations also provide reduced admission to visitors travelling by public transport, making a trip from 1st April 2008 even more economical.

Head of Access for All at the National Trust, Heather Smith, said:

"We are constantly looking for ways to improve access to our sites and free off-peak local bus travel will provide some of our disabled visitors with an opportunity to use public transport more cost-effectively."

Transport Minister Rosie Winterton said:

"This is another reason why extending the concessionary fares scheme is going to be so important to so many people.

"I hope that those who are eligible will use their pass to visit places in the North West and further abroad. The pass is not just for visiting local shops and services - it can also provide some great days out for those who want to make the most of free off-peak local bus travel."

Leonard Cheshire Disability National Campaigns Coordinator, Lee Webster added:

"This scheme is a very positive step towards a fully accessible public transport system. It is now up to transport providers to make sure that all their buses are accessible, so that disabled people can take full advantage of all the cultural and social opportunities available to them."

... Driving in fog, REMEMBER:

* Watch your speed. You may be going faster than you think. If so, reduce speed gradually.
* Leave a safe braking distance between you and the vehicle ahead.
* Remain calm and patient. Don't pass other vehicles or speed up suddenly.
* Don't stop on the road. If visibility is decreasing rapidly, pull off the road into a safe parking area and wait for the fog to lift.
* When visibility is reduced, use your low beam lights.
Before you drive, and during your trip, check weather forecasts and road reports. If there is a weather warning or reports of poor visibility and driving conditions, delay your trip until conditions improve, if possible.

Safe Driving Practices

Like any time of year, safe driving practices are the best way to deal with increased traffic. It can get hectic out there, so try to stay calm. Drive at a safe speed and be courteous to other drivers. Speeding, tailgating, weaving in and out of traffic and not yielding the right-of-way can lead to collisions.
If you're tired at the wheel, stop at a safe rest area, or take a break and treat yourself to a coffee or an ice cream. You'll feel rejuvenated and more alert.

Safe Snowmobiling

Owning and operating a snowmobile in Ontario
Snowmobiling is an immensely popular winter activity in Ontario. Whether you are a beginner or you have participated in this recreational activity for a number of years, knowledge of how to operate your vehicle safely is imperative to ensure an enjoyable ride both on and off the trail. The following highlights what you need to know to own and drive a snowmobile safely.

Reacting to an approaching emergency vehicle

As required by law, a motorist who sees or hears an emergency vehicle must clear the way. When a police, fire or ambulance vehicle is approaching from either direction, with lights flashing or siren on, motorists are required to pull to the right, and if possible, stop. This is especially important during peak traffic times. Also, motorists must yield to an emergency vehicle at intersections.
It is also illegal to follow within 150 meters a fire vehicle or ambulance responding to a call.
Failing to pull over and stop for an approaching emergency vehicle can result in the following:
Fine - $90 ($125 in a Community Safety Zone), plus 3 demerit points on your driving record upon conviction.

Getting Off the Bus

* Use the handrail.
* Do not push or shove.
* Walk doesn’t run away from the bus.
* Never go behind the bus.
* Go right home.
Illustration of danger zones around school bus

Know the Danger Zones

* Every child must know the DANGER ZONES around the school bus.
* Children should never enter the DANGER ZONE unless the driver has given them permission.
* If a child can touch the bus, he or she is too close.
* If a child must cross the street, know all the rules to cross safely.
* The 10 Giant Step rule is a good measurement for children to identify the DANGER ZONE around the school bus, particularly when crossing in front of the bus.
Illustration of danger zones around school bus
* When near a bus, the children must have the attention of the school bus driver.
* Children should never play around or near school bus vehicles.
* When leaving the bus, children must walk directly home.

Loading and Unloading: some routing guidelines

Street crossings:
Loading and unloading are critical procedures where students are at greater risk. This is especially true when children must cross the street to board, or leave, their school bus.
Routes should be designed to minimize the number of crossings which children must make to board or leave the bus. Wherever possible, passengers should be picked up and dropped off on the right hand side (home side) of the road. There are computer programs, in use in many school systems, which can help in developing safe routes. Drivers can also provide input on bus route and bus stop characteristics. Parents should be advised to meet their children on the side of the street where the child is being dropped off. A child excited to see his or her parents may forget school bus safety rules and run to the parent without waiting for the signal to cross.
As well, procedures have been put into place for loading and unloading passengers, and for maximum safety, these must be followed at every stop.

Establishing rules of conduct:

* students are expected to board the bus promptly and carefully, to take their seats and to make sure that book bags and other belongings are not in the aisle.
* Students must remain seated and facing forward while the bus is in motion
* eating, drinking and smoking is not allowed on the school bus
* Children may speak and chatter amongst themselves quietly, but crying out or shouting are not allowed
* Passengers are not allowed to distract the driver
* Passengers must not open windows without permission.
* Passengers are not allowed to throw things about, or from the bus
* Fighting or horseplay is not allowed
The rules for safe school bus travel must be reasonable, clear and consistent, and conveyed to parents and children.
* The school bus driver is not only responsible for the safe transportation of school bus passengers, but also for their safety on the bus. Data provided by the Canadian Hospitals Injury Reporting and Prevention Program (CHIRPP) indicate that of about 350 injuries related to school vehicles, one- third were due to "horseplay or inappropriate activity" or "fighting".
* Drivers should abide by District Board of Education, school and school bus operator policies.
* To avoid problems, rules and responsibilities need to be established early, communicated, and maintained in a fair and consistent manner.
* do not ridicule students, or embarrass them in front of their peers
* treat passengers courteously and firmly. By showing respect, you will receive respect in return.
* explain the consequences their actions will have, and then follow through.
* do not argue or debate: explain the behavior expected; repeat if necessary so the student understands. Ask questions in a calm, respectful, curious voice. Avoid accusations by not asking "why are you ...”
* Never lose your temper. You are a leader and a professional.
* do not touch students. If, for example, a student requests that a window be opened, either ask an older student to assist, or ask the student to leave the seat and then open the window: do not squeeze into the occupied seat.

Stationary Bus Station

* 1 volunteer
* Stationary bus and driver to answer questions
Children and parents are given the opportunity to board a stationary bus and to ask questions of the driver.
This is an opportunity to show and discuss the "danger zones" around the bus. The danger zones can be marked off with red tape or police "caution tape".
In order to prompt interest, the driver should be prepared to talk about elements of school bus driving, including:
* Danger zones
* School bus driver qualifications
* Mandatory circle check (trip inspection)
* Purpose of mirrors
* School bus safety features: reinforced areas, emergency door, warning lights
* demonstrate flashing lights
* School bus safety rules
* School bus procedures: tell parents to make sure they and their children are at the bus stop on time (or a few minutes early). Encourage parents to share responsibility for meeting the bus. Ensure that children have been to the bathroom before leaving home. Advise bus driver if child suffers from motion sickness or is subject to medical conditions such as allergies.
Ask questions of the children and parents as well. Reinforce the idea that the school day begins when the children board the bus.
Parents should also be reminded that children should follow the directions of the bus driver when around the bus.
Learning Objectives:
The stationary bus provides an opportunity for children to become familiar with the bus and the danger zones around the bus, and to assimilate this information. It also encourages parents (and children to ask questions)

Video / Movie Station

* Two volunteers, including one person to introduce the video, welcome participants, etc.
* Television set & VCR, or other a/v equipment
* Optional: mats for children to sit on and chairs for parents
* At the end, a volunteer should review some of the safety rules learned in the movie
There are a number of appropriate school bus videos which outline school bus safety rules. Make sure that the video being used is age-appropriate. A listing of available resources is provided in the "Resources" section of this guide. A recommended video is "Pooh's Great School Bus Adventure", which is 14 minutes long.
If possible, the video should be shown in a classroom instead of the auditorium to reduce the level of distractions. At the end of the video, cards or stickers are stamped and participants are directed to the next station.
Learning Objectives:
A movie is an entertaining way to introduce school bus safety rules in a nonthreatening, entertaining environment

What is Ontario's School Bus Stopping Law?

Motorists in both directions meeting a stopped school bus with its overhead red signal lights flashing and stop arm extended must stop. The law applies everywhere, regardless of the posted speed limit - on highways, country roads, and city, town or village streets. Only on highways separated by a median strip is oncoming traffic not required to stop.