This should get your attention
BY SCOTT CARMICHAEL
Staff The Ontario Provincial Police reported last week that inattentiverelated/distracted driving fatalities dropped 33 per cent last year, compared to 2017.
According to a report from the force’s Highway Safety Division, 55 people lost their lives on OPPpatrolled roadways in 2018 due to distracted-driving behaviours, while 82 such fatalities occurred in 2017.
The OPP pointed out that 2018 had the lowest number of inattentive-related road deaths “in almost a 10 years.”
The overall number of fatal road crashes and resulting deaths also dropped over the same period, from 304 and 343, respectively, in 2017, to 296 and 333 in 2018.
And while the number of fatal crashes was down, the total number of collisions rose 4.8 per cent – from 68,782 in 2017 to 72,060 last year.
The province-wide figures for the other three components of the OPP’s so-called “Big Four” road fatality factors – distracted driving is one of that quartet – were down in two of three categories.
There were 50 fatalities related to improper or non-use of seatbelts in 2018, one fewer than the previous year; and there were 56 alcohol or drug-impaired related deaths last year, compared to 58 in 2017.
Speed-related deaths in 2018 totalled 76 – one more than in 2017.
A total of 36 people died last year in motorcycle collisions – 25 percent fewer than 2017’s total of 48 – with speed and losing control the top contributing factors.
In 2017, improper turning and alcohol impairment were the lead factors.
The OPP also reported an overall increase in the number of collisions involving transport trucks in 2018 – 7,674 compared to 7,287 in 2017, marking a four-year high.
Fifty-five of the crashes last year were fatal, with 1,142 of them resulting in personal injuries.
In 2017, there were 7,287 tractortrailer collisions – 79 of which were fatal – and 1,253 personal injuries. Semi drivers were reported as being at-fault in over half of the collisions over the two-year period, with the OPP citing improper lane changes and following too closely at the main contributing factors.
ICE BREAKERS: As winter lingers, ice build-up becomes a problem. For the average person, snow removal is made even more difficult when banks are encased in ice. However, the task is much larger when entire towns have to be maintained. Fortunately, North Glengarry’s public works department has big machinery at its disposal. This blower makes short work of blocks that had formed on curbs in Alexandria last week.