Safety on the Road

The York Regional Police Traffic Bureau, the Community Oriented Response Units in each of the five districts across York Region and our frontline officers work diligently to ensure everyone – cyclists, pedestrians and motorists – stay safe on our roadways. Numerous programs and initiatives are managed by these dedicated officers and focus on education, awareness and enforcement.


Impaired Driving

R.I.D.E. (Reduce Impaired Driving Everywhere)

York Regional Police continues to devote significant resources to the fight against impaired driving, be it by alcohol or drugs. Impaired driving is a senseless and preventable crime that continues to destroy the lives of innocent people every day. It is the number one criminal cause of death in Canada and with our partners, including MADD (Mothers Against Drunk driving) Canada, we are fighting this crime each and every day.


York Regional Police is reminding the public that the R.I.D.E. program is a year-long initiative that is enhanced during the holidays, long weekends and the festive season. The message is clear: DO NOT DRINK AND DRIVE OR USE DRUGS AND DRIVE. 

Instead, consider these options:

  • Arrange for a designated driver
  • Call a taxi (#TAXI on your cell phone will connect you to the nearest taxi company)
  • Use public transit
  • Arrange for overnight accommodations

York Regional Police is a national leader in training officers as Drug Recognition Experts and there are over 20 DRE-trained officers working in our Traffic Bureau. A York Regional Police officer is currently seconded to the RCMP as the training facilitator who trains officers across Canada to identify drug-related impairment. 

Remember, public transportation and overnight accommodations are much cheaper than a lawyer, imposed court fines if found guilty, insurance fees, other provincial costs and the inconvenience of your driver's license being suspended for a lengthy period of time. 


Safe Roads…Your Call

Safe Roads…Your Call is a multi-phased campaign which began with the unveiling of new signage across the region encouraging drivers to call 9-1-1 if they see another motorist they suspect is impaired. In addition, York Regional Police has released an educational DVD to raise awareness, along with pamphlets and posters distributed by frontline and Traffic Bureau officers.

Many citizens hesitate before placing the call, either intimidated to call police or thinking they may be mistaken, but traffic safety is everyone’s responsibility. That call may save a life or prevent serious injury. Impaired driving is a crime in progress and as such, warrants a 9-1-1 call.

York Regional Police thanks the drivers of York Region for embracing this important program. Between the June, 2007 launch of Safe Roads…Your Call and January 15, 2008, the York Regional Police Communications Bureau has received 3,432 calls from members of the public reporting a suspected impaired driver, resulting in more than 500 arrests.


Watch the Safe Roads... Your Call video here.


Operation Cross Smart

Operation Cross Smart targets pedestrians and motorists who disobey the rules of the road jeopardizing their safety and that of other road users. Pedestrian safety brochures in multiple languages have been created and are distributed by officers and York Region Public Heath staff. Targeted enforcement by officers at intersections, cross walks, and school zones also helps raise awareness. Following these safety tips can help keep you safe on our roads.


For pedestrians:

  • Cross at marked crosswalks or traffic lights. Do not cross between parked cars 
  • Make eye contact with drivers to ensure they see you before you cross
  • Cross only when traffic has come to a complete stop at an intersection
  • At traffic lights, cross at the beginning of a green light. Do not cross once the “Don’t Walk” signal begins to flash or once the light has turned to yellow. Never cross on a red light.
  • Watch for traffic turning at intersections or entering and leaving driveways
  • Wear bright or light-coloured clothing or reflective strips when walking in dusk or darkness
  • Wearing headphones or talking on a cell phone reduces pedestrian awareness
  • Pedestrians must understand that in many types of environmental conditions they are almost invisible to motorists
  • Walk on the inside of the sidewalk, or if there are no sidewalks, walk as far away from the travelled portion of the road as possible
  • Where there are no curbs, stop before the sidewalk meets the road and be alert to vehicles

For motorists:

  • Be patient, especially with young children or elderly pedestrians who need more time to cross the road
  • Always watch for pedestrians, especially when entering an intersection, at night and while turning
  • Stay alert
  • Slow down in residential areas
  • Slow down in school zones and watch for children who may not be watching for themselves

Be Seen. Be Safe. Cycle Smart.
The Cycle Smart program combines education, awareness and enforcement to reach both cyclists and motorists using our roadways. Following basic safety tips can improve safety for cyclists significantly.


Be Seen:

  • Wear reflective clothing, especially at night
  • Ride single file when riding with others
  • Make eye contact with drivers
  • Always use hand signals
  • Check over your shoulder when turning
  • Never pass on the right as you approach an intersection, especially if the vehicle ahead of you is turning right

Be Safe:

  • Always wear a helmet. It’s the law. A properly-fitted helmet can reduce the risk of serious head injuries by 85 per cent
  • Parents and guardians are responsible for ensuring children under 16 wear a helmet
  • Put white reflective tape on the front and rear forks of your bike
  • Equip your bike with a horn or bell in good working order
  • Obey all traffic signals

Operation ABC – Always Be Careful

In partnership with the York Region District School Board and the York Region Catholic District School Board, York Regional Police continue to focus on safety in school zones and around school buses in Operation ABC. Its aim is to heighten awareness among motorists and pedestrians, including students, teachers and parents about safety in school zones.


For drivers:

  • Slow down and be ready to stop at all times
  • Obey crossing guards
  • Arrive early to avoid traffic congestion
  • Stop for school buses and be aware of children running in front or behind buses
  • Park away from the school and walk your child on to school property
  • Avoid no parking zones
  • Ensure your children exit the passenger side of your vehicle
  • Watch for children walking out from behind obstructions – cars, buses or snow banks
  • Be patient
  • Don’t honk the horn
  • Remind children to always cross at crosswalks or marked intersections

For parents and children:

  • Younger children often lack the skills to negotiate our roadways safely. Help them walk safely to school stressing the following safety rules:
  • Walk on available sidewalks
  • Always cross at intersections
  • Obey crossing guards

When crossing intersections without signals or crossing guards:

  • Stop before stepping into roadway
  • Be visible and indicate crossing intentions
  • Look and listen for traffic in all directions
  • Make eye contact with drivers
  • Cross safely when the roadway is clear
  • Walk. Do not run or cycle
  • If possible use the buddy system

When crossing intersections with signals:

  • Push button (where they exist)
  • Wait for pedestrian walk signal
  • Be visible and indicate crossing intention
  • Look and listen for traffic in all directions
  • Make eye contact with drivers
  • Walk carefully and watch for turning motorists
  • Be patient

Secure Your Future, Wear a Seatbelt

Seatbelt use has been mandatory in Ontario since 1976 and approximately 92 per cent of motorists wear their seatbelts. That leaves eight per cent or 600,000 people. For every one per cent increase in seatbelt use, five lives are saved.

Seatbelts are designed to spread the stress and impact forces of a crash along the stronger and broader areas of the body, such as the hips and shoulders, thereby reducing injuries.

Seatbelts prevent a person from being ejected from or thrown around inside the vehicle during a crash. Most people ejected from a vehicle are crushed by their own cars. Seatbelts also help protect the head and spinal cord and can prevent the person from becoming unconscious, improving the chances of escape after a collision. 

Wearing a seatbelt properly is the single most effective thing anyone can do to protect themselves and others in a motor vehicle collision.

Drivers are reminded that they are responsible for ensuring all passengers in their vehicle who are under the age of 16 are wearing a seatbelt or in an approved child-safety seat.

Operation Stay Focused

The Operation Stay Focused program was developed in response to a growing trend among motorists to multi-task while driving. A driver who is distracted and who is not fully concentrating on the road is a dangerous driver. Driving while distracted is a leading cause of motor vehicle collisions.

Police officers see the tragic evidence of distracted driving daily on our roadways. In most cases, motorists are unaware of the risks involved. York Regional Police urges all drivers to pay attention to the road and stay focused. Failing to do so could result in charges including Careless Driving, Follow too Closely, Fail to Yield and Unsafe Lane Change.

Remember, the driver’s seat is no place to multi-task. Losing focus behind the wheel can be a serious, even fatal, mistake.

Driver Distractions:

Use of cell phones, laptops, or hand-held devices
• Reading or writing
• Eating, drinking or smoking
• Tending to children or pets
• Personal grooming
• Adjusting map systems
• Loud audio systems
• Adjusting controls
• Loose or large objects near the driver
• Too many passengers
• Any combination of the above

Driving requires your complete and undivided attention. Remember these safety tips to reduce the chances of a collision:

• Avoid using cell phones while driving
• Pull off the roadway to talk
• Use a hands-free system
• Avoid using electronic hand-held devices
• Avoid stressful or emotional conversations
• Avoid reading maps or newspapers
• Limit the number of passengers to the number of seatbelts
• Ensure pets are secured away from the driver’s seat
• Educate children on proper behaviour
• Personal grooming should be done at home, not while driving

Operation Disqualified

Operation Disqualified is a year-round program targeting drivers who have been prohibited or suspended from driving by court order. These drivers have been convicted of at least one Criminal Code driving offence, such as Impaired Operation of a Motor Vehicle, and have had a sentence imposed that dictates not driving for a specific period of time. 

Uniform Patrol and Traffic Bureau officers are notified whenever the courts issue such an order and under Operation Disqualified, drivers are then monitored to ensure they comply. Citizens are reminded to contact the police should they know of any suspended or prohibited drivers that continue to drive.

Traffic safety is everyone’s responsibility.

Operation Winter Blitz

Operation Winter Blitz is an education and enforcement program reminding motorists they must adjust their driving habits for the weather conditions. The majority of winter collisions are completely preventable by slowing down, increasing the distance between your car and the others on the road and ensuring you have a clear, unobstructed view.

During the winter months, officers target motorists who have not adjusted their driving for the weather, looking for violations like Careless Driving (which can include driving too fast for weather conditions or driver inattentiveness), Speeding, Unsafe Lane Changes, Following Too Closely and Improper Passing. Motorists who do not adjust their driving for winter conditions will be stopped and ticketed. Be alert, reduce your speed and drive safely.

Adjust your driving and avoid these leading causes of collisions on snow-covered roads:

  • Driving too fast for the conditions. A driver traveling at 40 kilometres per hour on dry roads will need about 20 metres to stop. On a snow-covered road, that distance more than doubles to 42 metres. As speed increases, so does stopping distance.
  • Following too closely. Collision avoidance manoeuvres are less effective on snow-covered roads than on dry roads. Leaving more space between you and the vehicle in front provides more time and distance to take that important evasive action.
  • Improper tires. Many collisions which involve a loss of control are the result of worn tires. Worn tires can cause a vehicle to quickly and unexpectedly rotate into a sideways slide, exposing the occupants to a highly-dangerous side impact. Winter tires are the best choice for maximum control and traction.
  • Obstructed view. Not only is it important to clear all your windows of ice and snow before heading out, but it is equally important to be aware of other view obstructions. Heavy snowfalls result in high snow banks which can easily obstruct a driver’s view. Use caution when exiting driveways or when approaching intersections. Snow banks can easily hide a small car or pedestrian.

Project E.R.A.S.E.
Project E.R.A.S.E. was developed in response to fatal and serious personal injury collisions that were occurring as a result of drivers racing and operating modified vehicles aggressively and with no regard for public safety or traffic laws.

Aggressive driving and street racing are dangerous, unlawful activities that put innocent people at risk of injury or death. The real finish-line may be court, fines, jail, vehicle seizure and a loss of driving privileges.

York Regional Police and its road safety partners, which include the Ministries of Transportation and Environment and police services across Ontario, are committed to using every tool at their disposal to combat this dangerous and deadly behaviour.

Since 1999, 42 people have lost their lives across the GTA due to street racing and aggressive, extreme driving. Drivers and spectators who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs also increase the potential for disaster.

Recent implementation of tougher legislation that has increased maximum fines from $1,000 to $10,000 and the ability to suspend licenses and impound vehicles for racing and stunt driving are welcome tools in the battle against street racing. Modified vehicles used in street racing may also be seized under the Civil Remedies Forfeiture Act.

Street racing behaviour or vehicle modifications also have an impact on insurance premiums. Insurance companies consider a driver’s record when establishing rates. Convictions or substantial vehicle modifications may result in the cancellation of your insurance policy.

Remember, driving is a privilege, not a right.

If you race, the street is not the place.


Road Rage

Road rage is a motorist's uncontrolled anger that is usually provoked by another motorist's irritating act and is expressed in aggressive or violent behaviour.

Common road rage behaviours:

  • Tailgating to pressure a driver to move over or go faster
  • Flashing lights to pressure a driver to move over
  • Obscene gesturing
  • Excessive horn honking
  • Irritating drivers by flashing or driving with high beams on
  • Cutting another driver off
  • Passing someone, then slowing down in front of them

How to prevent road rage:

  • Be a considerate and courteous driver
  • Indicate turns and lane changes
  • Obey the rules of the road
  • Don’t tailgate
  • Distance yourself from erratic drivers
  • Don’t react to aggressive drivers, avoid eye contact
  • Control your temper
  • Be patient

If you feel you are a victim of road rage, call police or drive to the nearest police station immediately. Don’t respond to taunts or threats. Stay inside your vehicle and keep the windows up. Drive to a public place. Note the make, model and license plate of the vehicle involved.