Driving is risky enough - don't make it riskier by driving distracted

OPP completes third week of Distracted Driving Campaign

ORILLIA, ON, Sept. 28, 2011 /CNW/ - From September 12-18, 2011 the OPP conducted the third week of its "Phone in One Hand, Ticket in the Other" campaign and sadly more lives were lost due to inattentive drivers.

"During the campaign, OPP officers laid an average of 165 distraction-related charges daily in OPP patrolled areas", says OPP Commissioner Chris Lewis. "It's not about the number of tickets our officers issue, it's about public safety and how we'd prefer to see that people weren't driving distracted and putting the lives of everyone around them at risk", he added.

Of the six fatal motor vehicle collisions that occurred within OPP jurisdiction the week of the campaign, two people were victims of an inattentive driver. "These two families have had their lives changed forever and for what? Two very preventable deaths caused by the bad decisions of these drivers", says Deputy Commissioner Larry Beechey, Provincial Commander of Traffic Safety.

The vast majority of drivers over-estimate their skills behind the wheel and under-estimate the risk associated with distracted driving. They think that because they've done it numerous times before with no consequences, nothing bad will ever happen.

Some experts suggest that people prefer a certain amount of risk in their environment, including while driving. They actually make changes to their situation in order to match the amount of risk they prefer. It seems that many drivers feel they are adequately skilled to drive while texting or talking on their cell phone and last week's fatalities clearly show that they are not.

The OPP's four one-week campaign over the course of the year serves to heighten awareness about this dangerous driving behaviour and ultimately reduce collisions, but the OPP wants to remind motorists that enforcement of the distraction legislation is a priority every day and if caught, you can expect to be charged to the fullest extent of the law.

Using a cell phone or other electronic device while driving can result in a fine of $155 under the Highway Traffic Act (HTA) while. Watching an entertainment device can also result in a fine ($110) under of the HTA. Other forms of distracted driving can result in a charge of Careless Driving with fines ranging from $400 to $2,000, a possible licence suspension of up to two years and/or a jail term of not more than six months.

Learn More

What is Distracted Driving?

Tips on Managing Driver Distraction

Media Resources

Radio stations are invited to download and use Public Service Announcements about the dangers of distracted driving from http://www.opp.ca/ecms/index.php?id=545.

SOURCE Ontario Provincial Police

For further information:

Contacts by OPP Region:
Highway Safety Division:   Sergeant Dave Woodford    Phone: (416) 553-5471
Central Region:   Constable Peter Leon   Phone: (705) 329-7414
East Region:    Sergeant Kristine Rae   Phone: (613) 284-4500
North East Region:   Inspector Mark Andrews          Phone: (705) 471-0704
North West Region:   Constable Shelley Garr    Phone: (807) 473-2734
West Region:                         Constable Aaron McPhail                 Phone: (519) 352-1122 
www.opp.ca
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