The Ontario Provincial Police has released its 2017 traffic data and was disappointed to note increases in almost all fatality categories.
“The OPP is saddened and disappointed to see 2017 mark one of the worst years in recent history for fatalities on and off the road,” said Commissioner Vince Hawkes. “As is the case every year, the majority of these deaths were preventable and attributed to poor driving behaviours.”
A total of 343 people died on OPP-patrolled roads last year, marking a five-year high, up from 307 deaths in 2016. Of the 68,794 collisions the OPP responded to in 2017, 304 were fatal. By comparison, 275 of 67,450 crashes in 2016 resulted in fatalities.
Three of the “Big Four” causes of fatal accidents increased in 2017, with inattention-, speed- and seat belt-related fatalities all up from the previous year. Only alcohol or drug-related driving deaths decreased, from 47 in 2016 to 46 in 2017.
2017 also marked the deadliest year in the past ten years for motorcyclist deaths (48) and deaths involving transport trucks (91). On a positive note, pedestrians killed in Ontario decreased from 39 in 2016 to just 27 last year.
Off the roads, numbers weren’t much better. Police say snowmobile fatalities reached an all-time high of 29 in 2017, with excessive speed, loss of control and driver inattention the leading causes. 31 people also died in boating accidents, which marks the highest total in the past eight years. The majority of these deaths could have been prevented, had the victim been wearing a personal floatation device. 22 people were killed in off-road vehicle accidents, which is consistent with the previous year. In half of these cases, those who died were found not wearing a helmet.
“Until all drivers respect and observe road, off-road and marine laws that are designed to keep us all safe, these tragic deaths will continue,” Commissioner Hawkes concluded.
Photo Credit: OPP