ORILLIA — Behind the wheel this week.
Well, get a grip on yourself and your steering wheel this March break.
Big brother will be watching.
From Friday’s start to a week Sunday (March 18 for those taking a math hiatus), the OPP will be highly focused on what has been “the deadliest kind of driver on OPP-patrolled roads for the fifth consecutive year — the inattentive driver.”
Inattentive drivers, they say in a holiday release, were behind 83 road fatalities on OPP-patrolled roads in 2017, surpassing speed-related deaths (75), alcohol/drug-related deaths (46) and those that are linked to lack of seat belt use (49).
Since 2009 (the year Ontario Distracted Driving laws took effect), 692 have been killed on OPP-patrolled roads in collisions that involved an inattentive driver.
“By now, the majority of drivers and passengers have witnessed, had a close call or been involved in a collision with a driver who was texting, talking on their cell phone or engaged in some other form of distraction. Last year, the OPP responded to 8,711 crashes that were linked to driver inattention. – OPP Deputy Commissioner Brad Blair, Provincial Commander of Traffic Safety and Operational Support.
DID YOU KNOW?
If convicted of distracted driving, a fully licenced driver will receive:
— a fine of $400, plus a victim surcharge and court fee, for a total of $490 if settled out of court
— a fine of up to $1,000 if you receive a summons or fight your ticket
— three demerit points applied to your driver’s record
Drivers who endanger others because of any distraction, including hand-held and hands-free devices, may still be charged with Careless Driving under the Highway Traffic Act or even Dangerous Driving under the Criminal Code of Canada. Both charges carry heavy fines and penalties.