Ontario Proposes Harvest Season Road Safety Week
Waterloo Region MPP Tables Legislation Promoting Awareness for Farmers and Motorists
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 30, 2023
QUEENS PARK – Member of Provincial Parliament for Kitchener-Conestoga, Mike Harris, introduced a private members’ bill that, if passed, would designate the week beginning with the third Monday of September each year as Harvest Season Road Safety Week. Bill 143 seeks to heighten road safety awareness throughout the province and contribute to accident reduction. It will also reinforce the importance of responsible road sharing for all users. The third week of September is an opportune occasion to remind all road participants about the essential practice of safely sharing the road with farm vehicles.
“Our rural communities naturally require more road time for personal, commercial and agricultural vehicles and equipment. We want to encourage Ontario’s drivers to always stay vigilant, especially around Harvest Season when we have seen a rise in collision statistics,” said Mike Harris, Member of Provincial Parliament for Kitchener-Conestoga. “By raising awareness, we can share the roads and ensure our farmers get their work done safely so everyone goes home to their families at the end of the day.”
As the autumn season begins, rural Ontario witnesses the onset of harvest activities, resulting in increased traffic and farm equipment on the roads. Traffic safety is paramount for pedestrians, drivers, and farmers alike. To prevent accidents and preserve lives on our rural roads, it is crucial to raise awareness about the fall harvest season for all those who use Ontario’s rural roadways.
Elgin-Middlesex-London MPP Robert Flack initially introduced the bill, but he could not see it through the legislative process due to an appointment to cabinet.
“MPP Harris has a history of advocating for road safety, including through his previous Private Members’ Bill requiring school buses to have amber lights to warn when they are slowing down to pick up or drop off students,” said Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Lisa Thompson. “I am pleased to support this Bill and to see MPP Harris bring his passion for road safety to protecting Ontario farmers and agricultural workers.”
“Safety on the road is a responsibility we all share, and we are so pleased to support and endorse this Private Members Bill, championed by MPP Harris,” said Cathy Lennon, General Manager Ontario Federation of Agriculture. “Harvest Season – Road Safety Week will enable us to build and amplify important messages and resources together with the government to raise further awareness about sharing roadways with farm equipment and the responsibilities of both equipment operators and motorists to do so safely.”
“Throughout my career in agribusiness, as a farmer, and now as a Member of Provincial Parliament, I have seen first-hand the need to raise more awareness for rural road safety,” said Rob Flack, MPP for Elgin-Middlesex-London. “To help prevent accidents and save lives, it is imperative to raise awareness of the fall harvest season for those travelling on Ontario’s rural roads.”
“The Ontario Federation of Agriculture proudly supports and welcomes the Bill ~ Harvest Season Road Safety Week Act. We are committed to increasing road safety awareness and fostering a safe environment for farm equipment and motorists to coexist on our roadways. We believe this legislation will enhance road safety awareness and reduce accidents while ensuring all users share the road responsibly,” said Peggy Brekveld, OFA President. “Together, we can make our roads safer, our communities stronger and enable our farmers to continue providing the food we all depend on.”
- According to federal government data, slow-moving vehicles are 3.8 to 4.8 times more likely to be involved in a fatal collision per kilometre on the road than other motor vehicles.
- OPP statistics show that farm slow-moving vehicle injuries and fatalities are mostly related to rollovers, and these generally occur while entering, exiting, or crossing roadways, veering off the shoulder and accidents involving a motor.
- Passenger vehicles incorrectly passing farm equipment result in serious accidents or death.
- 8 out of 10 accidents occur during the day, and seven out of 10 occur on dry road conditions.