MONTREAL - When the Montreal
police department announced in 2006 ago it would assign 133 officers exclusively to traffic duty, one of the rationales behind the move was that more people had died the previous year in traffic incidents than in homicides.
On Tuesday, six years later, statistics made public by Montreal
police suggest those odds haven’t changed, a total of 39 persons killed in road incidents in 2011 while 34 were the victims of murder.
But the numbers also suggest that slowly but surely, the attitudes of pedestrians, cyclists and motorists are starting to change, even though the size of the police traffic division hasn’t been increased.
While 2011’s death toll of was one fatality more than that recorded in 2010, the number of collisions causing injury in 2011 had dropped by nearly seven per cent compared with the previous year.
One collision out of every three recorded on the island is attributable to distraction — be it a driver who was texting, a pedestrian who was looking at their smart phone while crossing the street or a cyclist wearing ear buds. But city of Montreal
officials acknowledged that since 70 per cent of incidents with injury occur at intersections, there’s work to be done to bring a uniform system of pedestrian friendly traffic signals to the city.