The nine-kilometre span from Centennial Parkway to the split at the QEW, 407 and 403 highways is where 14 per cent of all collisions in the OPP’s Burlington detachment area occurred from January to October of this year.
“We have a huge detachment area, and so for 14 per cent of the collisions to be occurring in a nine-kilometre stretch of highway is ridiculous,” said Insp. Doug Fenske, commander of the Burlington OPP detachment.
The number is down from 16 per cent last year, he added.
As of October, there had been 323 crashes in this area — 40 per cent of which were rear-end collisions, Fenske said. No injuries were reported in 273 of these crashes.
Friday’s two deaths were the first this year in that stretch of highway, Fenske said.
The majority of crashes happen during morning and afternoon rush hours. The number has spiked since the clocks went back because it’s often dark during both of those commutes now, he added.
Distracted driving — people on their cellphones, talking to children in the back, eating or being distracted by other motorists — is the biggest cause of these crashes, he said.
The second reason is driver error, with 20 per cent of collisions stemming from unsafe lane charges, he said.
According to the Ministry of Transportation, 152,200 vehicles travel the stretch of the QEW from the Red Hill Valley Parkway to Fruitland Road each day, on average.
From where the Hwy. 403 meets the QEW to Eastport Drive, that number is 149,800 vehicles daily on average, the ministry said.
“Hot spot” No. 2 is Highway 6 North, between the 403 and until two kilometres past the 401.
About 5.5 per cent of the overall collisions in the detachment occur on this stretch of highway. Many are head-on crashes because there is no centre barrier, Fenske said.
Overall, the Burlington detachment sees between 3,000 and 3,200 collisions each year, Fenske said.
Vivian Moir of Georgina, Ont. was one of two people killed on the QEW Friday night when her minivan veered into the path of a transport truck in a five-vehicle crash. She was a family physician. The other person killed was Thomas Kristek of St. Catharines, who was also in her van.
This type of multi-vehicle collision is becoming more and more common because traffic volume continues to increase, Fenske said.
“When somebody does make a mistake now out there, instead of them losing control and spinning across the highway and hitting the guardrail, they’re hitting four of five other cars as they cross the highway,” he said.
In both areas, OPP cruisers are out on the roads to try and keep speed down to reduce the impact of crashes.
Moving forward, OPP are analyzing Ministry of Transportation video camera footage to see if the collision was captured on video. The Collision Reconstruction Unit was already out to investigate it.
Fenske said Friday’s crash had nothing to do with road design, signage or construction, all of which are reviewed after every fatal collision.
According to an OPP news release, at the time of the collision Moir was driving on the highway toward Niagara near Centennial Parkway. She was in the leftmost lane when traffic slowed and her minivan hit the vehicle directly in front of it.
Source: The Hamilton Spectator