THUNDER BAY – Motorists travelling on Ontario roads and highways, heading to cottages, campsites and beaches this coming long weekend will do so under the watchful eye of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP). “Despite the proven success of our Provincial Traffic Safety Program, it’s always troubling when we see our enhanced enforcement efforts end with tragedy every July long weekend. The more than 6,100 charges we laid over the 2010 Canada Day weekend demonstrate that the OPP is doing its part to keep people safe, but that some motorists, boaters and trail users are not,” commented OPP Commissioner Chris Lewis.
The Canada Day long weekend is one of the busiest on roads, waterways and trails as families begin their summer vacations. The weekend also sees one of the year’s highest volumes of boats, camping and ATV equipment being towed which, combined with the increased traffic, means a greater risk of becoming involved in a collision for those who are not completely focused on safe, defensive driving.
Tragically, the OPP has seen an unusually high number of motor vehicle collision fatalities on Ontario roads recently with 36 people having been killed in June alone (as of June 26, 2011). The OPP will be extra diligent this weekend in targeting distracted drivers, aggressive drivers, street racers, those not wearing seatbelts and motorists who continue to drive while impaired by drugs or alcohol. The OPP Cessna aircraft will also continue to be in the skies for aerial traffic enforcement over the busiest highways.
The OPP Marine Unit and S.A.V.E. (Snowmobile, All-Terrain Vehicle and Vessel Enforcement) Teams will be out on the waterways and trails to ensure everyone complies with boating and ATV laws. Boaters are required to have Personal Floatation Devices (PFD) for everyone on board. Countless lives have been lost in boating incidents because PFDs were merely “within reach” and the OPP strongly urges everyone to wear them. ATV incidents also result in deaths every year and the OPP is reminding trail users that helmets are mandatory for both the driver and the passenger.