A man exaggeratedly talks on the phone, olding a coffee cup and a newspaper while sitting behind the wheel of a car.During the OPP’s annual march break Distracted Driving Campaign, officers in Perth County laid 34 charges against inattentive drivers.

Perth County OPP laid 31 distracted driving charges during the 2016 campaign, meaning the number of charges in this year’s campaign has increased by 10 per cent over last year’s.

Across the province, OPP levied more than 2,400 distraction-related charges between Marth 12 and 19. So far this year, OPP-investigated collisions involving inattentive drivers have claimed 11 lives across the province, nearly triple the number of deaths investigated by OPP by this time last year (four).

Deaths linked to distracted driving continue to outpace all other traffic fatalities in the province. In 2017, nine people have died in speed-related collisions, six have died in accidents involving drugs or alcohol, and three people have died because they weren’t wearing their seatbelts.

“We’re calling on the passengers, who are the most influential in helping to save lives, to show zero tolerance for drivers who talk, text and engage in other distractions that endanger lives,” Perth County OPP media relations officer Mike Melnychuk said. “So basically, we’re going to be directing our messaging now to the passengers in the cars, who have the most influence on the drivers.

“Say something to the driver. If it’s coming from your passenger, they may be more likely to listen.”

Source: Stratford Beacon Herald