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Deadliest start of the year for Ontario highways in a decade: OPP

The OPP say the province has seen the highest number of highway fatalities through the second week of May in 10 years.
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There hasn’t been a deadlier start to the year on provincial highways in a decade, according to the Ontario Provincial Police.

The OPP say the province has seen the highest number of highway fatalities through the second week of May in 10 years.

Sgt. Kerry Schmidt tells CityNews a rise in impaired driving and distracted driving deaths are key factors in the spike in deaths.

“Drugs or alcohol, or people not paying attention to the roads, we’re seeing significant increases in those,” says Schmidt. “Here we are getting ready for the May long weekend, and that’s going to require everyone to pay that much more attention.”

There have been 107 deaths on OPP patrolled roads so far this year — the last time there were over 100 fatalities this early in the year was in 2012. The OPP have responded to 88 fatal collisions so far and had only responded to 75 at the same time in 2021.

Distracted driving deaths are up 79 per cent from this time last year and impaired driving deaths are up 36 per cent.

Schmidt says speed is also a contributing factor in too many highway deaths and remains the most common factor in fatal crashes.

2022 driving deaths by behaviour to date

  • Speed – 27 deaths
  • Distracted driving – 25 deaths
  • Impaired driving – 15 deaths
  • Seatbelt compliance – 15 deaths

The OPP will join other policing partners for the annual Canada Road Safety Week campaign this week. Officers will “conduct robust enforcement and education” around distracted driving, speeding, impaired driving, and other aggressive and risky driving behaviours.

Police are also set to be out in full force on the Victoria Day long weekend, conducting their long weekend safety blitz.

The OPP previously reported speeding and aggressive driving deaths reached a decade-high in 2021 when 315 people died on Ontario roads.

 

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