The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) today announced that during this March break, from the 13th to the 19th, it will be doing everything in its power to put a stop to distracted driving.
The OPP is urging everyone to try and make distracted driving just as unacceptable as drinking and driving is these days.
The stats are grim. Distracted driving results in one injury every half hour in Ontario, makes you four times more likely to get into an accident than the average driver, and is the leading cause of death on not only Ontario roads but roads across North America. The only acceptable time to use your phone while driving is if you need to make a 911 emergency call, and even still its recommended that you pull over to the side of the road.
“Distracted driving continues to be a very serious challenge on our roads. It is particularly frustrating to see this behaviour – which is completely avoidable – cause the kind of carnage that it does. Even one death is one too many. It’s time for all of us to put down our phones and speak up if we see our friends and family driving dangerously – together we can make this behaviour as socially unacceptable as impaired driving.” Said Steven Del Duca, Minister of Transportation.
Buy a Bluetooth device, silence your phone, or have a passenger answer it for you. Those three simple steps could have prevented 65 deaths on the Ontario roadways in 2016. When compared to the other major causes of death on the Ontario roadways 55 were speeding related, 53 because of seatbelts, and 45 because of drunk driving. If you are caught distracted driving on OPP patrolled roads you could face up to a $1000 fine and 3 demerit points.
“Road deaths linked to distracted drivers will not let up unless every road user says ‘enough is enough’ and shows a complete intolerance for what continues to be the most life-threatening driver behaviour on our roads. Starting with this campaign, we want to see every Ontarian, especially passengers of all ages, take a firm stand against those who endanger their lives by using their cell phones or engaging in other forms of distractions behind the wheel.” OPP Commissioner J.V.N. (Vince) Hawkes.
You wouldn’t let your friend reach for a beer while driving, so why let them reach for their cellphone? At this point the statistics are showing that drunk driving is safer than distracted driving, but both should be treated the same.
“When young people are needlessly injured or killed as a result of distracted driving, my heart aches. Losing a loved one, losing a child, is one of the worst things imaginable – the text can wait.”
The OPP’s Distracted Driving Campaign is an important reminder to put the phone away and focus on driving.
“Keeping our roads, communities, and families safe starts and ends with each of us.” Said Marie-France Lalonde, Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services.
Hopefully the OPP don’t do anything inhumane like the Kensington, Prince Edward Island police did, and make arrestees listen to Nickelback.