Drivers are being reminded to stay safe this long weekend following a deadly year on Ontario’s roads.
“With 239 lives already lost on OPP-patrolled roads this year, now is as critical a time as ever for drivers to recognize the direct link between the loss of a life on our roads and a driver who makes poor decisions and takes careless actions behind the wheel,” the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) stated in a news release, adding that nearly half of those fatalities were attributed to drivers who were speeding, inattentive, impaired by drugs/alcohol, or not wearing their seatbelt — including unbuckled passengers.
“These poor behaviours, known as the “Big Four” factors in road deaths, lead to similar consequences for drivers and passengers year after year.
“Over the last full five-year period (2018-2022), more than half the fatalities were attributed to the Big Four, accounting for 946 deaths among those that were completely preventable.”
Motorists are also being urged to use caution as school buses take to the roads next week, along with busy pedestrian crossovers and school crossings. Pedestrians and cyclists also have a role to play in keeping roads safe by maintaining a heightened sense of awareness, police added.
Sarnia Police deputy chief Julie Craddock issued a similar release this week, with some reminders for students, parents and drivers:
Students and parents:
· Always walk on the sidewalk where there is one available
· Use designated drop-off / pick-up areas
· When crossing any road, use marked crosswalks, crossing guards, or controlled intersections with lights
· Store phones and electronics in backpacks as they can be a dangerous distraction
· If riding a bicycle, use proper hand signals, obey all traffic rules, walk your bicycle across intersections, and wear a helmet
· Follow the posted speed limit, keeping in mind that most school and community safety zones have a posted limit of 40 km/h. The fines for speeding in these designated locations are doubled
· Be vigilant and drive cautiously through school zones, because you never know when a child might step out from between parked cars, away from a school bus, or off a sidewalk
· Wait until pedestrians and crossing guards are safely on the sidewalk before proceeding
· Remember to share the road and give cyclists of all age one meter of clearance when passing them
Failing to stop for a school bus that has its stop arm extended and red flashing lights activated carries a $490 fine. It is the same fine if you proceed before the arm is retracted and the red lights are turned off, Sarnia Police added.