Orillia, Ontario – Highway deaths on roads patrolled by the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) were down 29 per cent in 2008, according to OPP Commissioner Julian Fantino. In 2008, 320 people were killed on these roads, compared with 451 in 2007.
Fantino said that improved highway design was a probable factor, but also outlined several recent OPP highway safety initiatives that he credited with saving lives. These include a Provincial Traffic Safety Program, introduced in March 2007, which puts an onus on every OPP uniform officer to make traffic safety a priority; a return to highly visible black-and-white patrol cruisers; the reintroduction of OPP aerial traffic enforcement; concentrated officer deployment; and a new section of the Highway Traffic Act, introduced in September 2007, which includes provisions for officers to impound the car and suspend the driver’s license for one week of anyone speeding 50 km/h or more above the posted limit.
Fantino said the OPP is committed to further reducing the number of crashes in 2009, and to faster re-opening of highways after a crash, using special teams with enhanced investigative and clearance techniques to reduce traffic disruption.