Monday, August 27, 2012

Few road, marine and trail fatalities are "accidents" says OPP as it readies to step up enforcement over Labour Day weekend

(Dufferin County, ON) With the final summer long weekend just ahead, the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) is poised to step up enforcement on roads, waterways and trails and is reminding Ontarians to respect the rights of every human being to be safe over the weekend.

OPP officers will be taking tough measures this weekend against those who place others at risk on roads, waterways and trails as part of their ongoing efforts to decrease fatalities and injuries caused by aggressive driving, distracted driving, seat belt non-compliance, impaired driving and failing to obey Move Over laws.

Sadly, heading into the last summer long weekend of the year, it is shaping up to be a bad year for road fatalities with 232 people having died on roads and highways (within OPP jurisdiction as of August 27, 2012), compared to 195 during the same time period last year. According to OPP Commissioner Chris Lewis, the solution to eliminating collisions and the senseless loss of life is as simple as making a firm commitment to good driving behaviour and obeying all of the laws in place to keep everyone safe.

Lewis noted that the term "accident" is no longer commonly used among OPP members when referring to collisions because it implies that no one is at fault when someone dies or is seriously injured. According to Lewis, there is almost always someone at fault and quite often it is not the person who is injured or killed.

"If someone else dies in a collision because you were speeding or texting while driving, or because you decided to drive after having consumed alcohol, this is not an accident - this is a preventable incident that was caused because you were careless and chose to break the law and in the process, an innocent life was taken. Tragically, the person or persons who died had no hand in the costly decision that you made and this is what makes it extremely difficult for the families of the victims to deal with," added Lewis.

"Our statistics show that in most of the road, marine and trail incidents we investigate, the causal factor is attributable to human error and/or bad judgement and could have been prevented if everyone simply obeyed our laws because they do save lives," said OPP Deputy Commissioner Larry Beechey, Provincial Commander of Traffic Safety.

"We would prefer to not have to lay any charges at all this weekend and would rather see people be fully compliant with our laws," said Chief Superintendent Don Bell, Commander of the OPP Highway Safety Division. "Because of the increased number of motorists, boaters and trail users out on long weekends, we know that there will be more careless, inattentive people to deal with and we fully expect to lay numerous charges in our ongoing efforts to save lives and make our roads, waterways and trails safer," added Bell.