Dis­tracted driv­ing main cause of col­li­sions: OPP

The Enterprise-Bulletin (Collingwood) - - OPINION - An­drew­philips@ live. ca

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.

KEVIN LAMB/ SPE­CIAL TO POST­MEDIA NETWORK

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