Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Public Can Expect Strong OPP Presence Over Civic Holiday Long Weekend

(Dufferin County, ON) This Civic Holiday Long Weekend Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) officers will be highly visible throughout the province, ensuring that road users and outdoor enthusiasts make it through a safe holiday weekend.

With more great weather in the forecast, the OPP will be ready for the many eager Ontarians and tourists travelling to and from recreational destinations and they will be well-resourced to deal with those who disobey traffic laws on OPP-policed roads, waterways and trails right through the weekend.

With a summer that is shaping up to be one of the warmest on record comes an increased public presence on roads, lakes and trails and sadly the number of fatalities, especially drownings, is rising by the week.

"I am deeply saddened by the number of drownings this year and this serves as an important reminder that exercising water safety is not just for boaters, it is equally critical where swimming and any other activities in and around water occur," said Lewis. "When it comes to drownings, whether related to boating incidents or otherwise, the one common factor they all carry is that they are among the most preventable tragedies of all," added Lewis.

"Ontario's roads rank among the safest in North America, but ultimately safety is the responsibility of drivers, cyclists and pedestrians," said the Hon. Bob Chiarelli, Minister of Transportation. "Tragedy could be only an inattentive moment away - I urge all Ontarians to stay alert and obey the laws to help keep our province's roads safe this weekend."

According to the OPP Highway Safety Division (HSD), road fatalities are up nearly 25 per cent this year, with 202 persons having died in motor vehicle collisions to date (as of July 29, 2012) compared to 162 fatalities this same time last year.

"This coming weekend our officers will focus their enforcement efforts on drivers, boaters and trail users who drink and drive, drive aggressively or while distracted and those who are not compliant with seat belt and boating laws," said Chief Superintendent Don Bell, HSD Commander. "We will also have an extra set of eyes on speeders from the skies, as our OPP Cessna conducts aircraft enforcement throughout the province over the weekend," added Bell.

The OPP is also reminding the public to wear personal floatation devices (PFD) when heading out on the water this weekend. Five people have died so far this summer in boating incidents in which lack of PFD use was a factor.