ORILLIA – The final weekend of summer is upon us and OPP officers will be out on the roads and looking for distracted drivers. So far this year, 41 deaths have been attributed to distracted driving on OPP-patrolled roads and the number of collisions caused by distracted drivers is up twenty percent compared to this time last year.
While police are committed to raising awareness about the dangers of driving while distracted this Labour Day Weekend, they are also enforcing new legislation that carries tough new penalties that go with it. As of September 1st, the new set fine for distracted driving is $490 and 3 demerit points. If contested, drivers can be fined up to $1000 upon conviction for inattentive driving. Police are serious about this deadly driving practise, and the OPP is hopeful that higher fines will help reduce the number of distracted driving-related deaths and collisions on Ontario roads.
Four ONroute Highway Service Centres now offer designated “Text Stops” where travellers are encouraged to stop and text. The partnership between the Ministry of Transportation and the OPP has officials hopeful that the new “Text Stops” will keep motorists from reaching for a cell phone while the vehicle is in motion. The four service centre locations include King City, Cambridge North, Woodstock and Port Hope.
“There are three types of distraction when driving: taking your eyes off the road, taking your hands off the wheel, and taking your mind off driving. All of these can endanger lives, but texting while driving is especially dangerous because it combines all three types of distraction. Leave the phone alone while driving. I encourage all motorists to keep their eyes on the road; let’s make sure everyone gets to their destination safely this Labour Day weekend.” Brad Blair, OPP Deputy Commissioner, Traffic Safety and Operational Support
End your summer safely. Don’t drive distracted. It could kill you or someone you love. Drive responsibly and respect the lives of everyone on Ontario roads.