Ontario Trucking Association president David Bradley speaks this morning at the launch of a joint campaign to catch aggressive drivers on the highway. Pictured left to right: Deputy Chief Chuck Mercier, OPP Commissioner Julian Fantino, Debbie Virgoe, and Transport Minister Jim Bradley.
TORONTO, Ont. — Today the Ontario Trucking Association, along with the Ministry of Transportation and the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police, kicked off a new campaign designed to encourage car and truck drivers to report aggressive motorists to the police.
The campaign is the brainchild of Dean and Debbie Virgoe, who are brother and wife of David Virgoe. David was killed on Highway 400 in the spring of 2007 when his truck was struck and he was forced to swerve to avoid other vehicles in front of him. Police officers who investigated the crash called Virgoe, then 48 and a grandfather, a hero who sacrificed his own life for the safety of others.
The campaign involves a 12″ x 20″decal to be applied to tractor-trailers which displays the message: “Help Keep Our Workplace Safe Report Aggressive Motorists, Call Police”.
“My husband feared an increase in roadway deaths caused by the aggressive drivers that he saw almost every day on the roads, ” says Debbie Virgoe. “Unfortunately it was his life that was lost in a collision caused by aggressive drivers.
“My husband’s death might have been prevented if someone had called the police to report the drivers that caused the crash that horrible day. All drivers need to know they should call police if they see people driving aggressively it could save a life of someone you love.”
OTA president David Bradley says the entire trucking industry was impacted by Virgoe’s tragic death. “There is always a lot of attention on the safety performance of truck drivers; but the fact is that as a class truck drivers are the safest drivers on our highways and in the majority of the fatal collisions they are involved in it is the car driver, not the truck driver that is at fault.”
“Ask any truck driver and he will tell you that the aggressive driving by motorists is getting worse creating a hazard for all road users including truckers whose workplace is the road. We hope that by encouraging people to call the police when they see aggressive driving that we can help save lives of truckers and the people we share the highways with.”
“Aggressive driving causes road tragedies avoidable tragedies,” said Ontario Transportation Minister Jim Bradley. “Today we are asking motorists to report aggressive drivers to police so that we can all enjoy safer highways.”
“Aggressive driving is a major cause of injuries and deaths on our roadways. We can cut down on collisions and deaths across the Province by ensuring motorists, police, and the trucking industry work together to get drivers who endanger their fellow motorists off the road.” said Deputy Chief Chuck Mercier of the Durham Regional Police Service and vice-president of the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police.
“We all have an important role to play in traffic safety,” Ontario Provincial Police Commissioner Julian Fantino said. “The OPP takes its responsibility seriously and appreciates the help we receive from concerned motorists. “
“This OTA project will bring further visibility to traffic safety, reminding motorists to watch for aggressive drivers, those who are speeding excessively or otherwise endangering other motorists,” Fantino added.
Decals will be made available by the OTA to operators of transport trucks. Over 2,000 decals will be distributed free of charge on a first-come, first-served basis. After that decals will be made available on a cost-recovery basis. (To order, please send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Decals must be picked up from the OTA office or arrangements made for courier pickup at your expense.)
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