Keep your eyes on the road not your phone

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The East Algoma (Elliot Lake Detachment) Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) is reminding drivers that the Provincial distracted driving campaign runs from March 13, 2017 until March 19, 2017. Officers will be out on our roadways taking a combined approach of education and focussed enforcement during the campaign.

The OPP are reporting that 2016 marked the fourth consecutive year that inattentive drivers were behind the highest number of lives lost on OPP- patrolled roads. This is above the other main causal factors in road fatalities, known as the “Big Four”.

In total, 65 people died in OPP- investigated collisions last year in which an inattentive driver was either a contributing factor or the primary cause of the death. In comparison to the other Big Four categories, 2016 ended with 55 speed-related, 53 seatbelt-related and 45 alcohol-related deaths. “Sad numbers to see, because these deaths are 100% preventable”, says East Algoma Detachment Commander Yves Forget.

All it takes is one second of taking your eyes off the road while driving, and disaster could strike. Numerous studies have been conducted on the risks associated with distracted driving. In particular, texting or talking on a cell phone 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 – which we all know is wrong.

Very importantly, distracted driving does not just include texting/talking on cell phones. The OPP continues to lay numerous charges every year against motorists whose driving ability is compromised by other distractions, such as eating, self-grooming, and tending to kids in the back seat, just to name a few. Driving involves sharing space with other 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.

The OPP is calling on responsible drivers and passengers to speak up and refuse to tolerate distracted driving. Take a zero tolerance approach to distracted driving. Take charge of your own safety and speak up when you are in a vehicle being driven by someone who is not paying attention to the road and is endangering your life. The goal is to make distracted driving as socially unacceptable as impaired driving. Enforcement and education are important to putting an end to distracted driving province wide.

The OPP is reminding drivers who choose to continue to drive while distracted that they face a set fine of $490 including the victim surcharge and a court fee, along with 3 demerit points. Motorists charged with Distracted Driving who contest the charges, can be fined up to $1000 and 3 demerit points on conviction.

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