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No need to rush

by Archives February 10, 2009

Winter features much in the way of annual traditions. It’s a time for ice hockey, spending hours digging our cars out of the snow and . death. Last week our fair city experienced not one – but two separate instances of snow removal vehicles striking pedestrians, resulting in three fatalities.
All three deaths occurred on the same day and all three were senior citizens. To compound matters, this is not the only winter in recent memory in which this has occurred.
Explanations concerning exactly how such horrible accidents occurred again this year are still ongoing, yet a number of theories are in place. The pedestrians involved in the incidents were not faulted for their misfortunes, thus what can be used as an explanation? Primarily, human error as a result of fatigue or a simple lack of prudence on the vehicle operator’s part have been cited as reasons for these accidents.
It’s clear that the city must drastically alter the ways in which it contracts its snow removal services. The good citizens of Montreal who obey our traffic rules should not have to fear walking about outside whenever snow is present. Numerous reports have stated that contracted drivers often work exceedingly long hours, to the point where their attentiveness behind the wheel may be compromised. There are already regulations in place to limit the amount of hours snow-plough operators can work in a seven-day period, but the enforcement behind these policies is sorely lacking.
Much of the difficulties arise from the pressure we have ourselves placed upon the plough drivers; after a large snowfall it’s not uncommon to see ploughs on the road around the clock until the job is done – we voice our displeasure very loudly whenever the mountains of snow impedes our driving and parking for any length of time.
As well as more strictly enforcing the amount of hours drivers can work, there are other potential safety solutions. Perhaps a worker from a contracting team could be designated to act as a crossing guard of sorts, to assist the machine operators in avoiding pedestrians who may inadvertently creep into the vehicle’s blind spots. Such a person would not be necessary along highways or during late hours of the night; thus this would likely be a highly affordable solution.
As it stands, we Montrealers can also do our part to effectively assist the city in implementing stricter rules to minimize the amount of snow removal-related accidents. We all desire that the snow from our streets be removed in as timely a manner, but by limiting the amount of pressure we place upon the city to clear our streets the stage will be set for increased safety measures.

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