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Impaired driving deaths on OPP-patrolled roads lowest in 10 years

Last Updated Mar 11, 2016 at 1:55 pm EST

More people died in crashes on OPP-patrolled roads in 2015 than the year before, but impaired driving deaths were at its lowest level in more than 10 years, police said.

According to the OPP, 299 people were killed in crashes in 2015, compared to 288 in 2014. And while these numbers were up year-over-year, alcohol or drug-related deaths were down in 2015 than from the year before, at 45 and 52, respectively.

The OPP responded to 69,469 crashes in 2015, compared to 75,644 in 2014. And the only reason total road deaths in 2015 were up was because there were more crashes with multiple fatalities, police said.

Overall, deaths stemming from the ‘Big Four’ causes of crashes, which includes impaired driving, were also down.

“Aggressive driving, distracted driving, impaired driving and seatbelt use: The fatalities that were as a direct result from those behaviours were actually down year-over-year, which is very encouraging for us to see,” OPP Sgt. Kerry Schmidt told 680 NEWS.

“People are starting to realize there is no place for distraction, impairment or aggressive driving on our highways.”

Last year also saw the lowest number of deaths caused by inattentive driving – 69 in 2015 compared to 82 the year before – since the province introduced its distracted driving laws back in 2009.

The only reason total road deaths in 2015 were up was because there were more crashes with multiple fatalities.

“Any fatality is a tragedy, but when we see these multi-deaths as well, we want to make sure people understand there are huge consequences when people aren’t driving the way they are supposed to be driving,” Schmidt said.

Last year, speed was a factor in 61 of the crashes, down from 64 in 2014. Crash deaths stemming from not wearing a seatbelt were down slightly last year at 51, compared to 53 the year before.

A breakdown of fatalities stemming from the 'Big Four' causes of crashes. Data provided by OPP.
A breakdown of fatalities stemming from the ‘Big Four’ causes of crashes. Data provided by OPP.

 

Truck and motorcycle-related deaths

Crash-related deaths were not limited to ‘Big Four.’

Last year, 71 people died in crashes that involved commercial transport trucks, compared to 66 in 2014. And while the number of deaths were lower in 2015, it was the highest number of transport truck-related road deaths since 2007.

Collisions that involved motorcycles were also up with 838 in 2015, compared to 803 in 2014. However, there was one less fatality last year from the 32 recorded in 2014.