Slow Down to Speed Up Reaction Time

By Ron Fanfair, Toronto Police Service Published: 3:30 p.m. April 11, 2019

Speed kills. In just three days this week, Toronto Police has issued nearly 500 speeding tickets as part of the #SlowDownToronto Campaign that runs from April 8-14.

A man in TPS uniform by a scout car with a man farther back
Sgt. Brett Moore, at right, is standing 43 metres from Sgt. Alex Crews showing the stopping distance a driver needs at 60 km/h

“We know that speed is a factor in all collisions that cause injury because the greater the speed at impact, the greater the chance of injury,” said Sgt. Brett Moore. “Each kilometre above the speed limit reduces the driver’s ability to perceive what is happening in front of that person and also reduces the time it takes to react by braking or steering. Speed is something that’s desired in many aspects of our lives, but too many are connecting the desire to speed onto to our roads and people are getting hurt.”

He reminds drivers that it takes 43 metres to stop a car travelling at 60 km/h based on a dry, level road.

“It takes 1.5 seconds for the perception and reaction time alone for your brain to tell your foot to hit the brakes,” said Moore, noting speed limits take into account whether a road is residential or arterial because drivers may have to brake suddenly to account for pedestrians.

He points to the Traffic Accident Commission of Victoria's Wipe Off 5 campaignvideos to show drivers the difference in stopping times by slowing down five km/h. It shows that shaving speed makes a huge difference in the ability to react on the road.

When Traffic Services and the City of Toronto looked at the fatal collisions in 2018, it was discovered that 80 per cent of the fatalities were a vulnerable road user.

“We also learned that 43 per cent of the fatal collisions happened on roads with speeds above 50km/hr.,” said Moore. “These are wide open multi-lane roads.”

A man with a radar gun
Sgt. Brett Moore conducts radar traffic enforcement along Lake Shore Blvd.

Last year, a total of 45,000 speeding tickets were issued.

Traffic Services is also connecting with motorcyclists during the campaign.

A total of nine riders were killed in 2018.

Moore said two things stood out as contributing factors for the fatalities.

“The speed the rider was travelling at and that other drivers were turning in front of the motorcyclist causing the crash,” he said. “Spring means motorbikes will be coming out and riders need to understand that riding a motorcycle is nothing like driving a car. The skills to ride a motorcycle are perishable and your first ride of the season should not be on the roads and highways. It should be in a parking lot to practice.”

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