Tuesday, October 2, 2012

From the Desk of: Chief Superintendent Brad Blair, Regional Commander, Central Region

(ORILLIA, ON) As the Regional Commander of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Central Region, I can’t help but notice that the Fall Season is very much upon us. As the leaves begin to change colour, I feel the need to identify an alarming trend that is being repeated daily across our Region.

Over the past number of weeks, our officers have investigated a significant number of motor vehicle collisions involving wildlife of all types. One of the primary concerns that I have is that there appear to have been a number of collisions that have taken place in that involve animals that are not normally seen in a specific area.

As drivers, many of us are aware that any contact between a motor vehicle and an animal can result in significant damage and in some cases even death. On September 20, 2012, a motor vehicle collision involving a moose was investigated on Dufferin Road 24 in East Garafraxa Township, Dufferin County. A similar event took place early Thursday morning (September 27, 2012) in the southbound lanes of Highway 400, just south of the Highway 400/Highway 11 split involving a pick up truck and a moose. Thankfully, there were no serious injuries, but again any collision involving an animal of this size could prove fatal. We have also seen other large wildlife collisions throughout north Simcoe County, Severn, Muskoka, Haliburton and the Peterborough area.

Drivers are being asked to be vigilant and to watch for large wild animals such as moose, deer and bear crossing roadways throughout the area as many of these animals are making there way to higher ground in preparation for winter.

This year, we have investigated 1321 animal related motor vehicle collisions. Across Central Region, this accounts for approximately 16.4% of the motor vehicle collisions we have investigated so far this year. Statistically we have found that many of the collisions involving wildlife occur before dawn and shortly after dusk. As a result, motorists are reminded to drive with proper headlights to illuminate the dark shoulders and to slow down in areas that they know are traditionally frequented by wild animals.

Road safety is a shared responsibility and I hope that motorists listen to the advice that is being offered and recognize the potential hazards associated with driving at this time of the year.

The Ministry of Transportation website also has a number of excellent road safety tips that deal specifically with sharing our roads with wildlife.