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Declining winter road care: a safety question?

Our mobile society is out and about on Ontario roads every day, rain or shine—or snow. Most drivers are safety-conscious and yet, motor vehicle accidents still happen. Sometimes, they can be caused by someone’s carelessness, distraction or drunk driving. Other times, road conditions are to blame for the car wreck.

Recent reports explain the potential safety issue local drivers may have faced in the past and might continue to face next winter. The Auditor General reportedly found service levels performed by snow removal contractors have declined. She further reports that snow and ice removal equipment isn’t sufficient to handle the job.

The resulting unsafe road conditions could very well contribute to personal injury and damages on the road if the issue isn’t resolved. The province’s transportation minister states for the record he will address the findings.

The report from the Auditor General reveals that Ontario cut winter maintenance expenses. As a result, it takes longer for highways to be cleared during or after a storm. Information released shows an increase in time to clear the roads during the winter of 2013 from about 2.1 hours on average to 4.7 hours. Further reported is that six of 20 contract areas failed to meet Ontario’s standards 90 percent of the time. The minister advises residents that the Auditor General’s report confirms what has been known: Improvements are needed. An action plan will reportedly be formulated within 60 days.

Victims of car collisions are entitled to seek compensation based on the circumstances surrounding the accident. If unsafe road conditions existed because of negligence or mismanagement in the maintenance system, it’s possible liability rests there. Serious injury and property damage can result when slippery roads are left unchecked.

Source: Truck News, “Winter road maintenance in Ontario inadequate, Auditor General finds,” May 1, 2015