POLICE BEAT: Distracted driving campaign continues until March 17

WELLINGTON COUNTY – Local police are reminding drivers that officers will be conducting their distracted driving campaign during March Break, ending on  March 17.

“If you are caught distracted driving – drivers will face the new, tougher penalties that came into effect on January 1, 2019,” warns a press release from the Wellington County OPP.

The new penalties include a fine increase up to $1,000, three demerit points and a three-day license suspension. The penalties increase with each offence.

For novice drivers in the graduating licensing system, the fine and demerit points remain the same, however, longer license suspensions are in effect.

In 2018, the OPP investigated just over 9,000 vehicle collisions across the province associated with driver inattention, in which 55 people lost their lives.

The OPP laid 13,529 distracted driving charges last year against drivers using a hand-held electronic device.

“We need to do better. Safety needs to be the top priority when driving,” states the county OPP press release.

“During March Break, OPP are asking drivers to be even more vigilant – there will be more vehicle traffic on the roads and more young people out on foot. Please be extra cautious. Start by putting down the phone.”

Serious crash

WELLINGTON NORTH – On March 6 just after midnight, emergency crews responded to a head-on collision involving a tractor trailer and an SUV at Wellington Road 109 and Sideroad 16 near Arthur.

Police say the male driver of the SUV was transported by ambulance to a local hospital and then airlifted to a trauma centre in stable condition with life-threatening injuries. 

The driver of the transport truck was not injured.

Wellington Road 109 was closed for several hours between Wellington Roads 12 and 11. The Ministry of Environment attended due to a diesel fuel leak.

Police are asking anyone that may have witnessed this collision to call 1-888-310-1122.

Officer charged

CENTRE WELLINGTON – A Wellington County OPP officer has been charged following a collision here last week.

On March 7 the officer was stopped behind another vehicle at the intersection of Wellington Road 17 and Highway 6 in a marked cruiser. Police say the officer “proceeded forward and struck the rear of the vehicle in front.” 

Neither driver was injured but both vehicles received minor damage, police added.

Provincial Constable Christine Millson, a 12-year member of the OPP, was charged with making an unsafe start from the stopped position.