Speeders and rubberneckers urged to rein it in

By Craig Westcott / September 29, 2023 Edition

CBS Mayor Darrin Bent felt compelled to deliver a couple of traffic safety messages at last week’s council meeting after continuing reports of near misses and other incidents on the town’s roads.

The first message involved the various intersections where walking paths and trails meet public roads. Bent said he’s asked Town staff to look at traffic calming measures for the T’railway’s intersection with Fowlers Road specifically.

Speeding in the area, and throughout town, is a problem, Bent noted.

“I’ve talked to people in the last week or so who stick their heads out to make sure nothing is coming and stop, and just as they start out somebody comes zooming around the corner up Fowlers Road and it’s an unfortunate situation,” the mayor said. “I’m asking people, try to be mindful of where you are, that you’re in residential communities primarily everywhere you go in our town. People live there, there are children, there are people on bicycles, be mindful and look out for people. Drive defensively. You don’t want to be on the wrong end of somebody crossing the road who was using the T’railway and you’ve come around the corner a little too fast.”

Bent said staff are looking at what can be done to either calm traffic at the T’railway intersection on Fowlers, or at least make it more visible.

“But it’s not just there, it’s in other areas as well,” he said.

Still on the subject of safety, Bent said he recently had a discussion with Fire Chief John Heffernan about incidents affecting emergency vehicles when firefighters and other first responders are answering calls.

“Recently they’ve seen some very concerning activity,” said Bent, citing one particular incident where a vehicle driving in front of a fire truck that was responding to an emergency call would not pull over to let the truck pass.

“They’re trying to get to the scene, it’s slowing them down, they can’t cross the road to get past them and the person (ahead of them) is just going along like there’s nothing going on,” said the mayor. “There are lights and sirens going and they’re just driving along. I’m not sure what was going on there, but the licence plate of that vehicle, I think, has been sent to the police for investigation and hopefully they can have the proper chat with that individual. But please be mindful.”

Another cause for concern has been the actions of some drivers when they come upon accident scenes where firefighters, police and ambulance technicians are working.

“The safety of our emergency people is paramount,” the mayor said. “They do everything that they can to make themselves as visible as possible. Drivers coming upon these scenes have to slow down, they have to be mindful of what’s going on, and understand that a situation could be developing, and something may happen that they can’t react quickly enough to.”

Bent reminded drivers that when you come upon an accident scene where emergency responders are working, you are required to reduce your speed by at least 30 kms per hour below the posted speed limit, and when necessary, come to a complete stop. You are only allowed to pass an emergency vehicle when it is safe to do so.

“So be mindful when you’re approaching these areas, you may have to slow down to a stop,” he said. “You may have to wait; well wait. Don’t try going out around them to go where you’re going to, you might end up being one of the responses that they have to do.”

Along with police cars, fire trucks and ambulances, search and rescue vehicles and utility vehicles are also considered emergency vehicles, said the mayor. 

“The first offence for violating this law comes with a fine of $390, which is far too low, and four demerit points,” said Bent. “So please be mindful when you see the flashing lights to slow down and be attentive too… Don’t be rubbernecking and looking in the wrong direction. Look in front of you. You don’t want to be rear ending somebody at an accident scene. So be careful.”

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