OPP warns of distracted driving ahead of Victoria Day weekend
OPP officers attend the site of a crash in the westbound 401, northeast of Kingston, Ont. early Thursday May 11, 2017. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Lars Hagberg)
Danny Pinto, CTV Toronto
Published Friday, May 17, 2019 2:28PM EDT
If you are driving up north this May long weekend, you just might get more than beautiful landscapes and lakes -- the vehicle next to you could put your life in danger.
"Focus on driving," said Ontario Provincial Police Sgt. Clayton Brown. "Too many drivers are not paying attention to the roads and cellphones are not the only distraction."
It’s Canada Road Safety Week, a police initiative to crack down on dangerous driving ahead of Victoria Day.
Officers patrolling the highways say they have seen it all: motorists having their breakfast, brushing their teeth, drinking soup, even reading a novel.
The OPP warns they are also looking for aggressive drivers, people not wearing seatbelts, and people speeding.
On OPP-patrolled roads in 2018, there were 76 speed-related deaths, 56 alcohol- and drug-related deaths, 55 inattentive-related deaths and 50 seat belt-related deaths.
Even though Ontario has some of the stiffest laws on distracted driving, in 2018 the OPP laid more than 13,500 distracted driving charges against drivers who were making roads unsafe.
"People are not getting the message," said Brown, who added that distracted driving fatalities have now surpassed deaths caused by drinking and driving.
Even talking to passengers and driving while fatigued are considered distracted driving, say police.
If convicted, fines range from $400 to jail time for the more serious charge of dangerous driving.