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Ontarians unaware of dangerous driving near construction zones

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by DCN News Services

TORONTO — Highways and other roadways are full of construction zones in the warmer months, and according to a recent Ontario Road Builders’ Association (ORBA) survey conducted by Leger, nine out of 10 Ontarians have witnessed dangerous driving behaviours from other drivers in construction zones.
A recent Ontario Road Builders’ Association survey found that nine out of 10 Ontarians have witnessed dangerous driving behaviours from other drivers in construction zones, such as speeding, failing to merge and texting while driving.
A recent Ontario Road Builders’ Association survey found that nine out of 10 Ontarians have witnessed dangerous driving behaviours from other drivers in construction zones, such as speeding, failing to merge and texting while driving. - Photo: FILE PHOTO

This includes speeding, failing to merge and texting while driving.

The survey also revealed that 80 per cent of Ontarians understand the serious risks associated with driving dangerously in a construction zone, including injury or death to a construction worker, yet only two thirds of Ontarians admit to driving dangerously themselves.

Thirty per cent admitted to speeding, while only eight per cent admitted to texting while driving, states a release issued by ORBA June 26.

"This points to a clear disconnect," said Geoff Wilkinson, the chief operating officer at ORBA, in a statement.

"Last year we launched a campaign that showed people how risky dangerous driving can be in construction zones, because construction zones are in fact workplaces first. In year two, it's become clear that Ontarians now understand this concept.

"However, the disconnect between those who see bad behaviour and those that admit to doing it makes it obvious that people don't realize they're actually participating in these types of behaviours themselves."

Using three light-hearted PSA-style videos, the 2016 campaign focused on educating Ontarians about road rage, failure to merge and speeding in construction zones.

Based off the survey done in 2017 however, ORBA is strategically adding distracted driving to its areas of focus, considering 60 per cent of Ontarians said they have seen drivers text and drive, 50 per cent admit to seeing people eat and drive, and 25 per cent admit to seeing people applying makeup while driving, adds the release.

"We want all Ontarians to enjoy their summer, especially on the roads," said Wilkinson.

"But considering the number of incidents still occurring in our construction zones caused by dangerous drivers, it's critical we take the time to not only point out what these behaviors are, but also remind drivers that they too participate in them, even if they don't think they do."

Other statistics from the survey include:

• Younger Ontarians (age 18 to 44) are significantly more likely to have grabbed a drink or bite to eat, glanced at their smartphone to catch up on messages or notifications, made up for lost time by passing slower vehicles and reset their GPS, compared to Ontarians 45 and older;

• Two-thirds of drivers have seen other drivers exceed the posted speed limit, and six-in-10 have seen other drivers fail to allow others to merge (60 per cent) and text or operate a phone while driving (58 per cent);

• One-third (35 per cent) of drivers have experienced being blocked by other drivers who won't let them merge, while slightly fewer have been passed by others driving on road shoulders (28 per cent) and have had to drive faster than the posted limit to keep up with the flow of traffic (27 per cent);

• One-fifth of Ontarians say they have had to suddenly brake hard (20 per cent) and have grabbed a drink or a bite to eat (17 per cent) while driving in a construction zone;  and

• 75 per cent of drivers believe fines and demerit points for drivers are possible consequences of speeding in construction zones.

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