OPP gives thumbs up to those who gear up

ORILLIA – Police are giving a thumbs up to those out on roads, waterways, and trails during the week of Canada Day who have supported their latest traffic safety campaign.

From June 26 to July 4, the OPP is promoting and enforcing laws around safety equipment. During this time, officers will be seen giving a thumbs up to boaters/paddlers, off-roaders, motorcyclists and vehicle occupants they spot wearing lifejackets/personal flotation devices (PFD), helmets and seat belts.

“Every year, lack or improper use of safety equipment is linked to a significant number of deaths and serious injuries on OPP-patrolled roads, waterways, and trails,” police stated in a press release.

“Only one of the 10 boaters/paddlers who have died so far this year was wearing a lifejacket or PFD. The potential for a lifejacket/PFD to save the life of someone who falls overboard or whose vessel capsizes is enormous, yet only 15 per cent of boaters/paddlers killed on OPP-patrolled waterways in the last 10 years were wearing them.”

Police are urging people to always wear a lifejacket or PFD while out on the water.

Helmets are a critical piece of equipment for off-roaders and motorcyclists and are required by law, police note. Last year, half of the 23 off-roaders who died in collisions were not wearing a helmet.

“Motorcyclists should always wear protective clothing (including a helmet) that is designed to reduce injuries in a collision and could be life-saving,” states the OPP release.

Police are reminding motor vehicle drivers to ensure everyone in their vehicle has their seatbelt fastened. This includes making sure children and toddlers are properly secured in a car/booster seat appropriate to their age, height and weight. So far this year, 20 fatalities have been linked to a lack of occupant restraint.

The OPP is urging all drivers and their passengers to make safety equipment an important part of every trip.