Living in Brampton equates to driving in Brampton. Driving here means paying the highest insurance premiums in Ontario. So as a population, we have good financial incentives to drive better. Yet the driving habits of our neighbours continues to be a thorny issue that livens up every water cooler discussion. Be honest, how many of these habits are you guilty of…
- Talking/Texting with mobile phones
- Driving while intoxicated
- Not using turn signals
- No headlights at dusk / Broken tail lights / Burnt out Headlights
- Pushing through intersections and running late amber lights
- Rolling stops at Stop signs
- Speeding, especially through School Zones
- Oblivious to Emergency vehicles
- General disregard for rules / lack of manners
Who or what is to blame for this lack of civility? Perhaps driver education, demographics, suburban traffic patterns? Or are we just handing out drivers licenses too freely?
It’s high time the situation was addressed at local and higher levels of government. Let’s examine driver training (G1). In 2013, the Toronto Star reported on driving schools across the GTA teaching new drivers without having Ministry approval. Glen Murray, the Transportation Minister at the time vowed action and stated “there is clearly more work to do”. It’s now 2016 and Stephen Del Duca, the current Minister of Transportation seems to have dropped the baton. What is the Province and Ministry of Transporation doing to protect consumers and make sure that they are not taken advantage of by unlicensed and unregulated instructors?
To compound our problems in Brampton, we have the highest collision rate in the Province. As reported again by the Toronto Star, many of these are “staged collisions” involving a ring that consists of “corrupt drivers, mechanics, tow truck drivers, rehabilitation professionals, and paralegals, that all conspire to defraud insurance companies”. In 2015, Peel Police Officer Carlton Watson was sentenced to 5 years in prison for his involvement in fraudulent motor vehicle accident claims.
During the recent Uber debate at City Hall, Councillor Gurpreet Dhillon put forward a motion asking Uber to halt its operations in Brampton. The Councillor specifically cited “consumer protection and public safety issue” for his reasoning. It doesn’t take much reflection to realize that vehicular incidents, whether it be moving violations or collisions represent a much more significant consumer protection and public safety concern. Our elected officials need to step up and ensure honest, law abiding drivers are not the ones that have to pay for the actions of those who choose to break the law, drive recklessly, commit fraud, or provide unlicensed driver education.