OPP to target distracted drivers Labour Day weekend

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Niagara This Week – St. Catharines

While the Province is considering a move this fall to hike penalties for people who text and drive, the Ontario Provincial Police will be acting a little sooner.

This Labour Day long weekend, OPP will be dedicating more officers to enforce Ontario’s Distracted Driving legislation full-time.

There will be 10 unmarked police vehicles on the roads over the long weekend, and the OPP anticipates that these additional resources are a much-needed measure to make Ontario roads safer for those who share the road with distracted drivers.

Within OPP jurisdiction, 35 people have died so far this year in collisions in which an inattentive driver was a contributing factor.  In 2013, 86 people died in distraction-related collisions. This category of road fatality surpassed both impaired-related and speed-related deaths investigated by the OPP last year.

The vehicles are being implemented on the heels of a survey of licenced Ontario students, in which almost 50 per cent of Grade 12 students admitted to texting while driving. As of June 30, 2014, the OPP had laid over 10,000 charges to Ontario motorists who were caught driving while distracted.

Research shows that there is a common mindset among drivers that they can talk on their cell phone, text, or engage in other driver distractions and do so safely.

But with school buses and pedestrians travelling to and from schools beginning next week, the OPP is urging all motorists who engage in distraction to come to terms with the reality that there is no such thing as a “safe” distracted driver and that all distracted drivers pose a threat on our roads.

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