Heading into the Thanksgiving long weekend, the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) announced that “numerous friends and family members will be missing loved ones at their Thanksgiving long weekend gatherings this year,” with the death toll on OPP-patrolled roads reaching 268 fatalities so far this year.
According to a release from the OPP, the fatalities mark a 24 per cent increase over this time last year.
“The majority of the deaths were no ‘accident’,” OPP said, “and were the result of motorists consciously making bad decisions behind the wheel and failing to take seriously their enormous responsibility to drive and share the road safely.”
So far this year, “poor decisions and a disregard for the safety of fellow road users” have been linked to 69 speed-related fatalities, 57 inattentive-related fatalities, 40 alcohol/drug-related fatalities and 40 deaths associated with lack of seatbelt use, according to the release.
Over the long weekend, the OPP will join police services across the country for Operation Impact. This national, annual traffic safety campaign is among the most robust police enforcement and education initiatives to target drivers who are alcohol or drug impaired, aggressive and inattentive/distracted, as well as vehicle occupants who fail to buckle up or properly restrain toddlers and children, OPP stated.
In keeping with this year’s campaign theme, officers are counting on all drivers to “put their best foot forward by putting the brakes on bad driving behaviours.”
The OPP said that they, along with their policing partners are committed to “doing everything within their means to keep the motoring public safe during one of the busiest traffic weekends of the year.”
“If every road user makes the same commitment every day of the year, Canadians could unequivocally reduce the tragic loss of lives on roads across the country in large numbers,” the OPP said.