Jan 21, 2008

TTC drivers, post-traumatic stress disorder

The following two paragraphs have been reproduced from an lengthy article that appeared in the Toronto Star.

Their (TTC bus drivers) rate of post-traumatic stress disorder is about four times that of police officers who patrol Toronto streets, and the city's transit drivers report these problems more than any other workers in Ontario, according to provincial data.

Drivers have suffered a wide range of abuse – shot at with an air rifle, punched in the eye, head-butted in the mouth, gashed with a broken beer bottle, to list just a few examples the Star uncovered.

This is horrible news. To get that information, The Star had to battle for nearly two years with the Workplace Safety & Insurance Board through the freedom of information act.

It is not only assaults that contribute to the stress disorder. Suicides and accidents also take their toll. From my own personal experiences, I had many stressful days working for the TTC. Fortunately I never have been assaulted but I knew other drivers that were.

When I first started working at the TTC, drivers used to sell tickets and make change for the traveling public. We carried large amounts of cash and tickets in plain view of everyone. Most of us felt safe but over a period time the feeling of well being was getting less and less. The exact fare system was implemented in 1975. Toronto was the last large city in North America to switch over to exact fare. This was supposed to reduce the number of assaults on drivers.

Our politicians have to start doing something more positive. Transit drivers suffering from the same symptoms as survivors of combat is something that should not be happening. The City of Toronto has a mayor that thinks the answer to violence is to ban hand guns. Does he have no thought of banning criminals?

Placing the divers behind a protective shield only means that the bad guys have won. The law abiding citizens are locked up and the criminals are roaming the streets. Should it not be the other way around? Would it make a difference if we had a system of electing our judges?

I guess you could say this is my seconded rant of the year.

Related Link:
  • TTC drivers in crisis
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • How to Relieve Stress

    Anonymous said...

    Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an extreme stress response to a traumatic event that threatens your safety or makes you feel helpless. If you have PTSD, you may believe that you’ll never get over what happened or feel normal again. But with treatment and the support of your loved ones, you can overcome your symptoms, reduce the painful memories, and move on with your life. http://www.xanax-effects.com/

    Natalie C Sequeira said...

    Hi Andy,

    This is a really interesting personal piece. I'm a journalism student working on a feature about TTC assaults and I was hoping to interview you. Feel free to check out my blog and post a comment to one of the articles letting me know if you are interested. Or just send me an e-mail at nataliesqr@yahoo.com.
    It's due this week so try and get back to me as soon as possible.

    Natalie C Sequeira said...

    Thanks anyway Andy! All the best :)

    Anonymous said...

    Great post!