Distracted Drivers Continue to Run Rampant in Ontario
ORILLIA, ON, Aug. 26, 2014 /CNW/ - Motorists who talk on cell phones,
text or engage in other forms of distraction while driving will be
easier to spot now that the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) is
dedicating more police vehicles to enforce Ontario's Distracted Driving
Ten unmarked police vehicles will take to the roads over the Labour Day
Long Weekend and the OPP anticipates that these additional resources
are a much-needed measure to make Ontario roads safer for those who
share the road with distracted drivers.
Thirty-five (35) people have died so far this year in motor vehicle collisions (within
OPP jurisdiction) in which an inattentive driver was a contributing
factor. In 2013, 86 people died in distraction-related collisions. This category of road
fatality surpassed both impaired-related and speed-related deaths
investigated by the OPP last year. Since Ontario's distracted driving
laws were introduced in 2009, the OPP has investigated 374 inattentive-related road deaths (as of August 25, 2014).
"Our officers remain deeply concerned with the number of drivers they
see driving distracted, especially those who talk on cell phones or
even worse - texting, which is one of the most dangerous activities to
engage in while driving. Regardless of how safe a driver, passenger or
pedestrian you may be, you should be equally concerned about the number
of motorists who risk your life by not paying full attention to safely
sharing the road with you," said Chief Superintendent Chuck Cox,
Commander, OPP Highway Safety Division.
The vehicles are being implemented on the heels of a survey of licenced
Ontario students, in which almost 50 per cent of Grade 12 students
admitted to texting while driving. As of June 30, 2014, the OPP had
laid over 10,000 charges to Ontario motorists who were caught driving while distracted.
Research shows that there is a common mindset among drivers that they
can talk on their cell phone, text, or engage in other driver distractions and do so safely. For this reason, when you are in a vehicle and the
person driving engages in any form of distraction, take charge of your
own safety. Never be afraid to speak up. Tell the driver to focus
entirely on driving and remind them that they are placing your life in
danger and that you have the right to be safe.
With school buses and pedestrians travelling to and from schools
beginning next week, the OPP is urging all motorists who engage in
distraction to come to terms with the reality that there is no such
thing as a "safe" distracted driver and that all distracted drivers
pose a threat on our roads.
With many Ontarians heading out to take advantage of the last summer
long weekend of the year, the OPP is reminding the public that they
will be highly visible on roads, waterways and trails this weekend.
Police are asking the public to do their part by keeping themselves
safe and contributing to an incident-free weekend.
Driving requires your full attention
Distracted Driving (CAA)
Survey (Centre for Addiction and Mental Health)
Is distracted driving as big a problem elsewhere?
SOURCE: Ontario Provincial Police
For further information:
Contacts by OPP Region:
Highway Safety Division: Sergeant Kerry Schmidt Phone: (416) 460-4701
Central Region: Sergeant Peter Leon Phone: (705) 330-3738
East Region: Sergeant Kristine Rae Phone: (613) 285-2750
Northwest Region: Sergeant Shelley Garr Phone: (807) 473-2734
North East Region: Sergeant Carolle Dionne Phone: (705) 845-2738
West Region: Sergeant Dave Rektor Phone: (519) 652-4156