Orillia, Ontario – The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) will crack down on irresponsible drivers who demonstrate the “big three” risk factors – aggressive driving, failure to use occupant restraints, and impaired driving – in the wake of a disappointing rise in 2010 traffic fatalities on roads patrolled by the force.

“Our Provincial Traffic Safety Program (PTSP) and other positive factors led to some significant saving of lives in 2008 and 2009, but it is very disturbing to see the carnage on our highways start to creep back up again,” said OPP Commissioner Julian Fantino. “Any loss of life due to irresponsible driving is unacceptable.”

In 2008, the first full year for the PTSP, there were 322 highway traffic deaths on OPP-patrolled roads, compared to 451 in 2007. In 2009, there were 310 highway traffic deaths. However, from January to July 25, 2010, there were 163 deaths, an increase of six per cent over the same period in 2009. In July 2010, there have been 46 traffic fatalities, compared with 28 for the entire month in 2009. Typically, traffic fatalities rise during the summer as more people travel to vacation spots.

Highway traffic deaths for alcohol-related incidents have increased 21 per cent year-to-date, compared to the same period in 2009, while deaths related to lack of occupant restraint are up 22 per cent.

“Impaired driving is the leading cause of criminal death in Canada and the penalties are severe,” Fantino said. “I have instructed all our officers to increase their vigilance and enforcement to save lives.”

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