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OPP: Distracted driving remains a deadly practice

ORILLIA - For the fourth year in a row, distracted driving is being cited as the top cause of deaths on OPP-patrolled roads.

In total, 65 people died in OPP-investigated collisions last year in which an inattentive driver was either a contributing factor or the primary cause of the death.

In comparison, numbers from the OPP’s other “big four” causes are: 55 deaths related to excessive speed, 53 to seat belt infractions and 45 to alcohol use.

As OPP officers prepare for their annual province-wide distracted driving campaign, police are asking Ontarians to help with the educational component of the campaign - a role that remains critical to keeping Ontario roads safe.    

“Road deaths linked to distracted drivers will not let up unless every road user says ‘enough is enough’ and shows a complete intolerance for what continues to be the most life-threatening driver behaviour on our roads,” stated OPP Commissioner Vince Hawkes.

“Starting with this campaign, we want to see every Ontarian, especially passengers of all ages, take a firm stand against those who endanger their lives by using their cell phones or engaging in other forms of distractions behind the wheel.”

Marie-France Lalonde, minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services, stated, “The OPP’s distracted driving campaign is an important reminder to put the phone away and focus on driving. Keeping our roads, communities, and families safe starts and ends with each of us.”

 Transportation minister Steven Del Duca stated, “It’s time for all of us to put down our phones and speak up if we see our friends and family driving dangerously - together we can make this behaviour as socially unacceptable as impaired driving.”

With the exception of 2012, inattentive drivers have taken more lives on OPP-patrolled roads than speeding and alcohol-impaired drivers since Ontario distracted driving laws took effect in 2009.

A driver convicted of distracted driving faces:

- a fine of $400, plus a victim surcharge and court fee;

- a fine of up to $1,000 if the he/she receives a summons or fights the ticket; and

- three demerit points applied to his/her record.

 

March 17, 2017

 
 

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