THUNDER BAY – Crimebeat – Social media along with enhanced enforcement led to a decrease in the number of accidents on Ontario roads over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend according to the Ontario Provincial Police. It is a strategy being used increasingly with success by police services across Canada and North America.
The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) used high-visibility tactics and engaged in social media conversations to encourage safe travel during Operation Impact over the 2011 Thanksgiving weekend. While targeting aggressive driving, OPP laid a total of 10,531 charges. These included 6,065 charges for speeding, 124 charges for drinking and driving offences, with 87 charges for street racing. Another 1,013 were charged for not wearing seat belts, while 306 were charged with driving while distracted.
Unfortunately, four (4) people lost their lives in traffic-related incidents during the 2011 holiday period but there were no marine or ATV-related fatalities. That’s down from seven (7) motor vehicle collision fatalities and four (4) off-road vehicle deaths during the same weekend of 2010.
“The tragic loss of lives this past weekend was both unfortunate and preventable. Our officers were out promoting safety through targeted enforcement, and through live social media dialogues. But we must rely
on motorists to slow down and be more cautious.” noted OPP Deputy Commissioner Larry Beechey, Provincial Commander – Traffic Safety and Operational Support.
Members of the OPP Highway Safety Division inter-actively engaged the public on Facebook and Twitter (@OPP_News) during the long weekend to share statistics and provide safety tips, and were heartened to see several messages of support for increased safety enforcement during those conversations.
Operation Impact is a Canada-wide traffic initiative aimed at saving lives and reducing serious injuries on our roads by increasing public awareness and compliance with traffic safety laws.
The OPP will continue to work with police agencies and community partners to increase compliance with safe driving measures and ultimately, save lives while ensuring Ontario highways remain among the safest in the world.
“The lives of those families who lost loved ones this weekend will be changed forever. Driver behaviour – especially compliance with well-established speed limits and seat belt laws – must be changed,” stated Chief Superintendent Don Bell, Commander – OPP Highway Safety Division.