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Driver distraction still number 1 factor in road deaths: Ontario police

| www.cos-mag.com

The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) have confirmed that 2015 marked the third consecutive year that driver distraction exceeded all other categories as the cause of road deaths.

"If you are texting, talking on your cellphone or preoccupied with other activities while behind the wheel, you are not driving safely," said J.V.N. Hawkes, OPP commissioner. "It does not suffice to keep your eyes on the road. Driving involves sharing space with drivers, their passengers, motorcyclists, cyclists and pedestrians and it is impossible to do so safely unless your eyes and mind are solely focused on driving."

Last year, on OPP-patrolled roads, 69 people died in road crashes in which driver distraction was a factor, compared to 61 speed-related, 51 seat belt-related and 45 alcohol/drug-related deaths.

Numerous studies have been conducted on the risks associated with distracted driving, in particular, texting or talking on a cellphone while driving. Many of these studies have confirmed that this form of distracted driving is as dangerous as driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs, said Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services Yasir Naqvi.

"Distracted driving is just not worth it," he said. "We all have a role to play in keeping our roads safe… Go hands-free and put your hand-held devices away. It can mean all the difference."

Each year for the past three years (2013-15), OPP officers have laid 20,000 distracted driving charges throughout the province, which is more than double the number of impaired driving charges they laid over the same three-year period.

Over and above cellphone use, the OPP continues to lay numerous charges every year against motorists whose driving ability is compromised by other distractions such as eating, self-grooming, tending to kids in the back seat, to name a few.   



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