A distracted driver holds a cell phone while driving.

Distracted driving is deadly.

As Ontario Provincial Police prepare to conduct public education and targeted enforcement for their annual distracted driving campaign (March 14 to 20), the service has already reported 12 distracted driving-related deaths so far this year.

In fact, distracted driving deaths are poised to surpass impaired driving deaths for a seventh consecutive year, police say.

OPP collision data reveals that driver inattention was a causal factor in 12 of this year’s 51 fatal collisions across the province to date.

In five of the fatal incidents, it was the driver who was found to be driving inattentively who died. In two incidents, the driver who died did nothing wrong and was driving properly at the time of the collision. Three of the incidents involved a pedestrian being struck by a vehicle.

Nine of the deceased were male, three were female and their ages ranged from 33 to 88 years old.

“Distracted driving is a danger to all road users,” said Chief Superintendent Chuck Cox, commander of the OPP Highway Safety Division.

“Fortunately, these same road users are in a position to help put a stop to it. We want to see everyone develop and maintain a complete intolerance for distracted driving and make it the socially unacceptable driving behaviour that it should be,” he said.

How can you help?

  • Be mindful that distracted driving poses a significant threat to the well-being of your family and friends.
  • Talk about distracted driving with your family, friends, and colleagues. Place distracted driving in the negative light it deserves.
  • If you are in a vehicle being driven by someone who is driving while distracted, speak up and demand the behaviour stop. Be firm and declare that too many people are dying because of distracted driving.
  • If you see someone driving in a dangerous manner while driving distracted, call 911 to report them.
  • Be self-disciplined every time you get behind the wheel. Do not allow yourself to be distracted in any way while driving.

Source: Brantford Expositor