Ontario Provincial Police are warning drivers to pay attention after noting an uptick in fatalities provincially and in the northeast.
Sergeant Carlo Berardi says between January 1st and May 4th, seven people have died on northeastern Ontario highways. That’s up from two in the same period last year.
Across Ontario, deaths on provincial highways are up to 71 this year from 61 last year.
Berardi says it’s difficult to know why these numbers are increasing.
“What our data tells us is that poor driving behaviours and bad decisions are causing these fatals,” he said.
“You make that decision to answer your phone while driving, or to drive too quickly or to handle a coffee while you’re driving at high speed. People are making these decisions. People have to think about what they’re doing when they’re driving.”
He points out the causes are preventable, like wearing seatbelts and not driving while distracted.
“At times I know there are a lot of things going on in peoples’ lives but they have to think about driving when they’re actually driving.”
Starting today, OPP and other police jurisdictions are taking part in Canada Road Safety Week.
Berardi says it’s a way for police to educate and enforce safe driving behaviours.
“We will be out enforcing all of these laws,” he said.
“We’re hoping that people are getting the message. It’s unfortunate that it’s good people making bad decisions. If people would just think about driving when they’re driving, then we could avoid a lot of these fatalities on our highways.”