Distracted driving now No. 1 cause of fatalities on Ontario roads

Distracted driving fatalities in Ontario surpassed both impaired driving-related and speed-related fatalities last year, the Ontario Provincial Police said Monday.

A total of 78 people died in distracted driving-related collisions last year, above the 57 impaired driving deaths and 44 speed-related deaths, the OPP said.

“When you consider the overall impact of these 78 fatalities last year and the 325 other distracted driving victims who have died since 2010, the number of people these irresponsible drivers have had a profound and devastating impact on is in the thousands,” OPP Deputy Commissioner Brad Blair, Commander of Traffic Safety and Operational Support, commented in a press release.

“Everyone, from the victims’ families and friends to the police officers who attend these horrific collision scenes and have to notify next-of-kin, knows the emotional impact of one life lost to this senseless driving behavior trickles down to so many people who, sadly, through experience, know how badly this behaviour needs to stop,” he added.

The OPP are launching a formal distracted driving campaign March 8 that will run until March 14. During that period, the OPP will be focusing enforcement on distracted driving laws province-wide.

On March 18, the current distracted driving fine of $155 will jump to $280, which includes the increased $225 fine plus a $50 victim fine surcharge and $5 court cost, the OPP noted.

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