Fatalities down, but OPP remains unsatisfied

The results are in for the OPP’s 2011 traffic statistics and while most of last year’s categories show an improvement over 2010, the OPP will be looking for ways to improve safety on roads, waterways and trails in 2012.

According to the commissioner of the OPP, there are a number of ways to interpret the results of the 2011 statistics and it is not all good News for the OPP and the people who drive in Ontario.

“I’m pleased to see a reduction in most … categories for 2011 but … our officers laid more than 1.2 million charges in Ontario over the past two years,” said OPP Commissioner Chris Lewis.

“The actions behind each of those charges in some way posed a risk to people’s safety, so there was the potential for fatality and collision numbers to be much higher in every category had our officers not caught up with these people when they did,” added Lewis.

According to Lewis, regardless of what traffic statistics look like from year to year, the bottom line is that the overwhelming majority of the collisions, including the fatalities, are dictated by driver behaviour. Eliminating most of those fatalities is very much within the grasp of motorists, said Lewis, and it is as simple as paying due attention to and respecting our traffic laws.

“Since we implemented our award-winning provincial traffic safety program in 2007, we’ve seen a steady reduction in the rate of fatality and personal injury collisions in Ontario and these rates are the lowest Ontario has seen in 80 years,” said Deputy Commissioner Larry Beechey, provincial commander of the Traffic Safety and Operational Support.

“The difference between the number of charges we laid last year (2011) and those in 2010 is minimal. That means that our officers are doing an excellent job of maintaining a strong presence throughout the province and that contributes to saving lives,” added Beechey.

Impaired driving, lack of occupant restraint, distracted driving and aggressive driving are the big four causal factors and high-risk behaviour the OPP targets through its program. That incorporates high visibility, measurable outcomes, professional traffic stops and public education, and forms part of the OPP’s ongoing efforts to reduce collisions and save lives on Ontario roads, waterways and trails.

2011    traffic data include:

– a total of 285 people were killed in motor vehicle collisions on roads in OPP jurisdiction in 2011, compared to 328 in 2010 (a 13.1% decrease);

– there were 260 fatal motor vehicle collisions in OPP jurisdiction in 2011, compared to 296 in 2010 (a 12.2% decrease);

– alcohol was a factor in 55 of the 2011 deaths, compared to 78 in 2010 (a 29.5 decrease);

– a lack of occupant restraint was a factor in 71 of the 2011 fatalities, compared to 93 in 2010 (a 23.7 per cent reduction), while speed and distraction-related fatalities were only down slightly in 2011 from 2010;

– the OPP saw an increase in pedestrian deaths, with 29 pedestrians being killed in 2011, compared to 31 in 2010 (a 38.1% increase);

– a total of 22 people died in marine incidents last year on OPP-patrolled waterways, compared to 28 in 2010 (a 21.4 decrease);

– there were 15 snowmobile fatalities in 2011, compared to 25 in 2010 (a 40% decrease).

– a total of 14 off-road vehicle deaths occurred in 2011, compared to 17 in 2010 (17.6% decrease).

– a total of 610,390 charges on roads, waterways and trails in OPP jurisdiction in 2011, compared to 612, 419 charges in 2010 (a 0.3 decrease).