In the last few weeks the 401 around the Region has been closed repeatedly, and lives have been lost, all due to accidents on the highway. The OPP have stated that the accidents are due to speeding and driver inattention. Road conditions and weather have been good, construction may have been occurring in the accident areas, but if drivers had been paying attentional nod going posted speeds the accidents would have been prevented.
Here is a list of the most recent closures, all of which involved at least one truck:
Oct. 29: 401 crawls as accident occurs between 6’s
Oct. 20: 401 closed for 4th time in 9 days between Milton and Cambridge
Oct. 18: third collision in a week closes 401
Oct. 17: Westbound Highway 401 after multi-vehicle crash
Oct. 11: Westbound 401 at Hwy 6 r tractor-trailer collision
The OPP said that charges were laid in four separate collisions that have killed 10 people in the 401 stretch along Port Hope, and all were caused by driver inattention. They all resulted from inattentive truck drivers slamming into the line of either slowed or stopped traffic on highways. “This is driver inattention at its worst” according to OPP Commissioner Hawkes.
Another truck driver is facing charges for a six-car accident which killed a mother and son on the 401 near Chatham this summer. They were stopped in a line of traffic in a pick-up truck when a tractor trailer slammed into them from the rear. The truck rolled over the pickup and then continued to slam into 5 other cars and another truck on the highway.
It appears that too many drivers are preoccupied with their electronic devices, food, coffee, entertainment systems and I can't even think of what else. They are driving too fast, and when something happens on the roadway ahead they are not left with enough time to react to the problem. In the last couple of weeks the 401 has been closed for hours at a time along the Woodstock - Milton stretch due to such accidents. Most have involved tractor trailers but that doesn't mean that cars weren't partly to blame.
Speeding on the 401 is an epidemic, I am regularly passed by people travelling at least at 130 km/h. These drivers may think they are safe, but travelling that fast allows for very little reaction time in the event something is going on ahead on the road way. Speeding through the construction zones has also resulted in the death of a construction worker last week north of our area.
OPP Sgt Schmidt is on record “Reminder to everybody: Focussed attention on driving is your number one priority”.