THUNDER BAY – Is that text message or social media update really more important than lives? 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.
Inattentive driving is linked to more collisions on Ontario Provincial Police (OPP)-patrolled roads so far this year than speeding and alcohol/drug-related collisions combined. This Labour Day weekend officers with the Sault Ste. Marie OPP will be out patrolling local area highways and roadways to ensure the travelling public will arrive at their destination safely.
Since January 1, 2017, driver distraction has been reported as the primary cause in 6,360 road collisions. In contrast, speed was the primary cause in 4,700 crashes, while 1,158 of the incidents involved a driver who consumed alcohol or drugs. A total of 47 people have died so far this year because of an inattentive driver, up from 39 such deaths this time last year.
With children and other students taking to the streets and being bused to school beginning next week, the need for motorists to pay full attention to driving – and for others to take a firm stand against drivers who are not — has never been greater.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re on a highway or stopped at a red light – distracted driving could cost your life. When you aren’t focused on the road, things can happen fast. Distracted driving has become one of the biggest problems that law enforcement officials have to face. By giving your full attention to driving you will be operating your vehicle in a safe manner, which is important for your safety as well as all others on the roadways.” – Sault Ste. Marie OPP Detachment Commander Michael Maville
HOW YOU CAN HELP
- As a driver, keep your cell phone out of sight. If you need to use it, pull over at a safe location.
- As a passenger, speak up and voice your concerns about your safety when travelling with a distracted driver. By ignoring the problem, you are contributing to the problem.
- Spread the word at your school or workplace about the dangers of distracted driving.
- Highlight the dangers of distracted driving on social media.
- Be a voice in your community.