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OPP focusing on seatbelt use over Easter long weekend

By: Sudbury Northern Life Staff

 | Apr 15, 2014 - 11:15 AM |
Seatbelts will be the main traffic focus for the Ontario Provincial Police over the Easter long weekend. File photo.

Seatbelts will be the main traffic focus for the Ontario Provincial Police over the Easter long weekend. File photo.

Seatbelts will be the main traffic focus for the Ontario Provincial Police over the Easter long weekend.

The OPP urges those few non-compliant drivers and passengers who continue to put themselves and others at risk to buckle up every time they drive. The OPP asks the motoring public to work with them to keep 2014 seatbelt-related deaths, currently sitting at nine in OPP jurisdiction, from rising.

Drivers should expect to see much higher volumes of traffic over the weekend, making it a particularly important weekend for all drivers, passengers and young children to be properly restrained, regardless of how short a trip people are taking.

The nine victims who have died so far this year in collisions where lack of proper restraint was cited as a causal factor range from 21 to 64 years of age. The OPP recognizes that seat belt non-compliance is largely related to attitude rather than age.

“Young drivers tend to get a bad rap when it comes to seatbelt compliance,” said OPP Deputy Commissioner Brad Blair, provincial commander for Traffic Safety and Operational Support. “We are seeing more young drivers than ever buckling up and taking the risks associated with lack of restraint very seriously early on in their driving years. These healthy attitudes paint a positive outlook for seatbelt safety on our roads, but those few non-compliant drivers should follow their example”

“The OPP is very proud that Ontarians have a generally high compliance rate with seatbelt laws, but there are still a handful of people who need to adopt the same voluntary compliance mindset as the majority of road users,” said Chief Superintendent Don Bell, commander of the OPP Highway Safety Division.

“Driving is a privilege, but is too often thought of as a right. All motorists need to be responsible and accountable for poor driving behaviours because they impact the safety of other road users.”

Officers will also be looking to drivers to help keep Ontario roads safe from other life-threatening driver behaviours that continue to kill innocent people of all ages. These are: distracted driving, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, speeding and other forms of aggressive driving.

Quick Facts:

-Every year, about 10,000 children (from infants to 12 year olds) are injured or killed on Canadian roads.
-Drivers are responsible for ensuring that passengers under the age of 16 are properly restrained and that the proper car seat is being used for young children and is installed correctly.
-On March 18, 2014, the fine for distracted driving increased from $155 to $280. -On March 17, 2014 MTO introduced Bill 173, Highway Traffic Act (Keeping Ontario's Roads Safe) which proposes legislative amendments to further strengthen distracted driving and impaired driving laws.
-In 2013, the OPP laid more than 290,000 speeding charges across the province.
-As of April 14, 2014 the OPP has investigated 53 fatal motor-vehicle collisions in which 58 people lost their lives.

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