Giving drivers and parents tools to help stop impaired driving

The holiday season is in full swing and with Christmas now behind us, we all have an opportunity to take a few days to relax and enjoy some quality time with our friends and family. This season brings about many gatherings and as New Year’s Eve approaches I would like to remind everyone to please plan ahead for a safe ride home while enjoying the holiday festivities.impaired_driving_keys

Ensuring our roads are safe is just one of Halton’s commitments to community safety. Halton is the safest place to live in the GTA and the safest municipality in Canada, yet impaired driving remains Canada’s number one criminal cause of death.

Working together, we can help stop impaired driving. To help residents plan ahead for a safe ride home while enjoying the holiday festivities, Halton Region, in partnership with the Halton Regional Police Service, developed Halton-specific webpages at www.halton.ca/impaired. These pages provide drivers with the information they need to plan for a safe ride home, report suspected impaired drivers, inform teens about impaired driving and more. There is also an impactful video testimony that shows the devastating effects drinking and driving recently had on one Halton family. 

Road safety is a top priority for Halton Regional Council. We want Halton drivers to feel safe on our roads. By partnering with the Halton Regional Police Service and Halton motorists, we’re working together to make sure this holiday season is a safe one for everyone.

We need to work together. Having your eyes on the road is key to help keep impaired drivers off of them. Through the Halton Drive SAFE program and its Safe Roads… Your Call campaign, you’ll see signs throughout the Region reminding you to call 911 if you see a suspected impaired driver on the roads. Your call could save someone’s life.Safe_Roads_Sign

In addition, if you witness dangerous drivers, you can report them through the Road Watch Program. This is a community driven program encouraging anonymous reporting of incidents involving dangerous and/or aggressive driving. Reports can be made by completing an online form at www.haltonroadwatch.ca.

This holiday season, help us keep our roads safe while ensuring that Halton remains a great place to live, work, raise a family and retire as we move into 2014.

As always, if you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton, LinkedIn or Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”

Keeping our roads safe by stopping red light running

As the safest place to live in the GTA and the safest municipality in Canada for five straight years, Halton Region is committed to being safe and ensuring our programs are responsive to the changing needs of our citizens.

One of these needs is intersection safety. Have you seen someone run a red light? If so, you’re in the company of 40% of Halton drivers who reported seeing someone run a red light at least once a week and 62% who say they’ve witnessed a near-miss accident due to someone running a red.

Recently five new red light cameras were activated across the Region and in one week, our seven red light cameras across Halton captured 91 drivers running a red light – not an amber light, but entering the intersection after the light had already turned red.red_light_road_sign

But we know the Red Light Camera program is making our roads safer. After the Region’s first two red light cameras were activated last year, right-angle collisions at both locations were reduced by around 80% compared to the previous year.

Intersection safety is critical for us to address, since residents are almost as concerned about it as they are about drinking and driving. Surveyed Halton Region drivers were very concerned about drinking and driving on our roads (78%), followed closely by drivers running red lights (72%).

Working with the Halton Regional Police Service, we have the “Safe Roads… Your Call” program in place which encourages motorists to help police apprehend impaired drivers by calling 9-1-1 when they see a suspected impaired driver. We must now work together to reduce red light running. With at least one accident every week attributed to someone running a red light, red light cameras are about saving lives.

Red light cameras are a piece of the puzzle to reduce aggressive driving on our roads. We can all do something to help stop aggressive driving and improve our community safety – if you see it, report it!stop_sign_md

If you see a driver demonstrating unsafe driving behaviour, you can submit a Citizen Report Form through the Community Road Watch program. The police then send an information letter to the registered vehicle owner explaining that their vehicle was observed being operated in an unsafe manner at a specific time and place and asking for voluntary compliance. For more information, visit www.haltonroadwatch.ca.

Living in a safe and healthy community is important to us all. Working together, we can make our roads safer for everyone. For more information on red light cameras, visit www.halton.ca/stoponred  or dial 311.

As always, if you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton, LinkedIn or Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”

Be prepared for winter weather

On November 1, Halton Region rolled out an enhanced emergency notification service which gives us access to an improved database. We can now reach more than 95 per cent of Halton residents with traditional land line telephone service in emergency situations.  As one of the first Canadian municipalities to have access to Bell Canada’s 9-1-1 data for use in emergency situations, Halton Region continues to be a leader in delivering community emergency notification services. 

We all need to be prepared, because emergencies can happen any time and any place. In Halton, our emergency response partners work together to plan for and manage emergencies.  Our goal is to ensure that residents are safe and that Halton is a disaster resilient community, ready to deal with any potential, imminent or actual emergency. 

While governments and partners at all levels work hard to keep residents safe, individuals also have an important role to play. Are you prepared?  Emergency preparedness is a shared responsibility.

As winter approaches, we face the possibility of:

I encourage you to take time to learn more about emergency preparedness. This winter, be prepared…take the steps!

For more information about Halton’s Emergency Management Program, dial 311 or visit www.halton.ca/beprepared. You can also follow Emergency Preparedness on Twitter for emergency updates and preparedness tips. 

As always, if you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton, LinkedIn or Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”

Chair’s Corner: Halloween Safety

It didn’t take long for stores to shift their inventory from back to school supplies to festive Halloween decorations, costumes and props. The excitement has been building as families get ready for the fun in a few days’ time, and I want to make sure all of the little minions, vampires, Power Rangers, etc. (and their parents) stay safe and enjoy their trick or treating to the fullest.

At Halton Region, we take safety seriously. Building safe communities with our residents is part of the Citizens’ Priorities Action Plan, and I’m proud that in August—for the fifth consecutive year—Halton Region was named the Safest Region in Canada. I know that record is because of the committed partnership and the great work by the Halton Regional Police Service and the engaged community we have in Halton.

In order to ensure we keep this Halloween safe too, we all need to work together. Please remember if you’re driving to slow down and pay attention. Children will be distracted during their quest for treats, so please take extra caution. Parents, remember to take flashlights or have your children carry glow sticks so they are easy to see. For more ideas, Health Canada also has a number of tips and hints to consider.

Halloween is also a great time for family fun and getting to know your neighbours. Our HaltonParents team of public health nurses often stress the importance of both spending time together as a family and the need for strong communities in raising happy, resilient children. So, enjoy every step from finding or making costumes, to getting dressed up together, and then getting out and talking with your neighbours.

I look forward to hearing the rings from my doorbell this year. I hope you all have a fun and safe Halloween.

As always, if you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton, LinkedIn or Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”

Halton named Safest Region in Canada for 5th consecutive year

For the fifth consecutive year, Halton Region has been named the Safest Place to Live in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and the Safest Regional Municipality in Canada.

The results are determined based on Statistics Canada’s 2011 Crime Severity Index (CSI) scores. The CSI scores six personal and property crimes including homicide, sexual assault, aggravated assault, auto theft, robbery and breaking and entering.

Through actions identified in the Citizens’ Priorities Action Plan, Halton Region is committed to working in partnership with the Halton Regional Police Service and community partners. Some of the programs we have implemented to encourage safety include Speedi, Road Watch, Drive SAFE and two Vehicle Activated Traffic Calming Signs. Other community programs include D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education)  and Motive8, two programs that teach students about positive decision-making and drug abuse prevention.

Halton Region has the lowest police officer to resident ratios amongst  the Big 12 Police Services, with 124 police officers per 100,000 residents.  Even with this impressive ratio, Halton tops the list as the safest regional municipality. Halton’s reputation as a safe community is one of the reasons that so many people and businesses choose to call Halton home.  This achievement is the result of our residents, businesses and local municipalities, working together with the great police officers and staff of the Halton Regional Police Service, to ensure Halton Region remains a safe place to live, work, raise a family and retire.

To learn more about community safety visit www.haltonpoliceca, www.halton.ca/drivesafe or watch my video below.

If you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton, LinkedIn or Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”

Keeping our roads safe

With the beautiful summer weather and the fun of long weekends and vacations, it’s important that we work together to ensure everyone has a safe summer on our roads.

Halton Region has been named the safest municipality in Canada for the fifth year in a row. This is partially due to the great work of our police officers, but also due in large part to the vested interest residents have in ensuring one another’s well-being.

Working together to stop impaired driving

As part of Halton Region’s ongoing partnership with the Halton Regional Police Service, Halton has the Safe Roads… Your Call program to educate drivers about the dangers of drinking and driving.

This program encourages motorists to help police by calling 9-1-1 immediately when they witness a suspected impaired driver on Halton roads. Once 9-1-1 operators receive a call from the public, it is assigned high priority and all available police resources are used to locate the suspected vehicle. Motorists reporting a suspected impaired driver in progress should have a description of the vehicle, the nearest intersection where the suspect was witnessed, direction the vehicle was headed, and if possible, a license plate number.

We want everyone to stay safe on our roads, so only report what you can safely observe. Impaired driving is a crime in progress and as extra eyes on our roadways, Halton residents play an instrumental role in enhancing road safety and assisting police in keeping impaired drivers off our roads.

Last year, we partnered with our police service and a brave mom to help convey the heartbreak impaired driving can have on families. I encourage you to take a minute and watch a powerful video that could change the way you think about even having one drink and getting behind the wheel.

Standing up to aggressive and distracted drivingdistracted_texting

Have you ever seen a driver who seems to be breaking all the rules and wondered what you could do about it? You can report it!

If you see a driver demonstrating unsafe driver behaviour, you can submit a Citizen Report Form through the Halton Community Road Watch program. The police will send an information letter to the registered owner of the vDistractedDrivingSticker_plainehicle explaining that their vehicle was observed being operated in an unsafe manner at a specific time and location and asks them to drive safely.

Slowing down and stopping on red

We want to make sure that Halton continues to be the safest Region in the country and we’ve recently expanded our red light camera program and brought back our Vehicle Activated Traffic Calming signs to help remind drivers to both slow down and stop at red lights.

Our electronic road side signs, positioned at strategic, rotating locations across Halton, stay blank until an approaching vehicle exceeds the speed limit to trigger the sensor. The sign then lights up for three to four seconds with the speed the vehicle is travelling and the message to “SLOW DOWN.”

Another useful tool that reminds driver to obey the law when driving is our expanded red light camera program. By the end of this summer, there will be seven red light cameras across the Region to remind drivers to stop at red lights and improve intersection safety. Other municipalities participating in this program have seen a reduction of more than 25 per cent in deaths and personal injuries and I’m proud to be able to help police keep our roads safe through this initiative.

Driving sober and following the rules of the road are things everyone can do year all year round. Working together, we can help keep our roads safe and make sure Halton stays a great place to live, work, raise a family and retire.

If you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton, LinkedIn or Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”

Stopping Red Light Running in Halton

Have you seen someone run a red light? If so, you’re in the company of 40% of Halton drivers who reported seeing someone run a red light at least once a week and 62% who say they’ve witnessed a near-miss accident due to someone running a red.

Together with residents, Halton Region and the Halton Regional Police Service work hard to earn the distinction of being named the safest place to live in the GTA and the Safest Municipality in Canada. We continue to implement and enhance many road safety initiatives to make our roads even safer. To continue our commitment to road safety in the Region, by the end of the summer, all four of Halton’s Local Municipalities will have at least one red light camera.

Intersection safety is critical for us to address, since residents are almost as concerned about it as they are about drinking and driving.  Surveyed Halton Region drivers were very concerned about drinking and driving on roads (78%), followed closely by drivers running red lights (72%). With the “Safe Roads…Your Call” program in place which encourages motorists to help police apprehend impaired drivers by calling 9-1-1 when they see a suspected impaired driver, we’re now continuing to tackle the important issue of red light running.

To help improve safety on our roads, Halton joined the provincial Red Light Camera Program last year. With two cameras already installed – one in the City of Burlington and one in the Town of Oakville – we’re expanding the program this summer with five new locations across Halton (including one in the Town of Halton Hills and one in the Town of Milton) to discourage people from running red lights.

Red light cameras are about saving lives. With at least one accident every week in Halton Region attributed to someone running a red light, it’s important to remember that running red lights is not only dangerous, it’s also illegal.

Red light cameras are a piece of the puzzle to reduce aggressive driving on our roads. We can all do something about aggressive driving – report it!

If you see a driver demonstrating unsafe driving behaviour, you can submit a Citizen Report Form through the Halton Community Road Watch program. The police then send an information letter to the registered vehicle owner explaining that their vehicle was observed being operated in an unsafe manner at a specific time and location and asking for voluntary compliance. For more information, visit www.haltonroadwatch.ca.

Working together, we can make our roads safer for everyone. For more information on red light cameras, dial 311 or visit http://www.halton.ca/stoponred.

As always, if you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton, LinkedIn or Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”