Traffic-related death numbers climb

Recent traffic data for 2016 by the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) reveals increased fatalities across the board and ongoing poor driving behaviour. The “Big Four” main causal factors in road deaths include aggressive, inattentive and impaired driving.

Sadly, passengers are guilty of the fourth behaviour, a lack of seat belt use, which contributed to 165 deaths last year. The total number of deaths in 2016 was 307 and resulted from 275 collisions, marking another four-year high.

Sgt. Kerry Schmidt of the OPP Highway Safety Division says the vast majority of incidents are avoidable and due to poor decisions made by drivers.

“It really comes down to the drivers. It’s not the highways or conditions that cause problems; it’s the drivers on those highways. Drivers are making bad decisions and putting themselves, their passengers and other road users at risk,” he says.

These ongoing poor behaviours on the road contribute to a continuously increasing number of fatalities but Schmidt is adamant the situation will improve.

“We have been trending downwards which is encouraging, but the fact that 307 people lost their lives on provincial highways across the province last year is 307 too many, and really our aim should be zero,” says Schmidt.

With some 70 fatalities already in 2017, the better weather will mean even more drivers travelling longer distances and being distracted.

“19 people have died already this year because of a speed related collision and we’ve had 10 who have died because they were not wearing their seatbelts and that is one hundred per cent preventable,” says Schmidt.

Common mistakes that lead to serious collisions are going too fast taking an exit ramp, being in a hurry and taking chances.

As far as collisions involving a large transport commercial truck are concerned, “it’s not always the transport truck drivers fault. Many of these collisions resulting in fatalities are the result of a passenger vehicle doing something in around the area of a commercial vehicle,” explains Schmidt.

Regardless of who is at fault, resulting fatalities are three times more likely when a large commercial vehicle is involved. Their size, weight and momentum mean any type of wreck will likely have a tragic outcome.

The report also mentions collisions involving motorcycles, pedestrians, waterways and snowmobile deaths which stand at 26 for the 2017/2017 season.

OPP Traffic Data (2016)

Persons Killed in Motor vehicle accidents
• 2016 – 307
• 2015 – 301
• 2014 – 290
• 2013 – 293

Persons Killed – speed-related
• 2016 – 55
• 2015 – 63

Persons Killed – inattentive-related
• 2016- 65
• 2015- 68

Persons Killed – alcohol/drug-related
• 2016- 45
• 2015- 45

Fatal Motor Vehicle Collisions
• 2016-275
• 2015-262
• 2014-268
• 2013 254
• Of last year’s crashes, 11,506 of them resulted in injuries.

Number of Collisions Involving Large Commercial Transport Trucks
• 2016 – 5,357
• 2015 – 5,381

Number of Fatal Collisions
• 2016- 57
• 2015- 56

Persons Killed
• 2016 – 67
• 2015 – 71

Number of Transport Truck Drivers Killed
• 2016 – 11
• 2015 – 10

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