Distracted driving main cause of collisions: OPP
Distracted drivers are causing more crashes on OPP- patrolled roads than speeding and impaired motorists combined so far this year.
Since Jan. 1, driver distraction has been reported as the primary cause in 6,360 road collisions, police say.
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.
“Our collision data is compelling evidence that drivers who text, talk on their cellphone or are distracted in some other way, take a tremendous toll on the safety of those who share the road with them,” OPP Commissioner Vince Hawkes said.
“Public complacency about inattentive driving can be just as dangerous as the behaviour itself,” he said. “Until drivers, passengers and the general public take a firm stand against this road safety issue, these tragedies are expected to continue in large numbers on our roads.”
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, OPP say.
“This long weekend, it is impor- A furry navigator assists a driver on Highway 400. Police are reminding motorists about the dangers of distracted driving. tant that we remind ourselves of the dangers of distracted driving,” said Marie- France Lalonde, minister of community safety and correctional services. “On the road, please remember to put down the phone and focus your full attention on safe driving.”
With the exception of 2012, inattentive drivers have taken more lives on OPP- patrolled roads than speeding and alcohol- impaired drivers since Ontario’s distracted driving laws took effect in 2009.
Police advise drivers to keep their cellphones out of sight, and if needed pull over at a safe location.
Passengers need to speak up and voice their concerns about safety when travelling with a distracted driver. Ignoring the problem contributes to it police say.