March 12th, 2018 by

OPP distracted driving blitz underway

The distracted driving display truck was involved in an accident on highway 401 here in Belleville a couple of years ago. The display truck has been given to the OPP for their use. (Photo: Amanda Smith/Quinte News)

The OPP are getting a vehicle from Belleville Fire, which hopes to help curb distracted driving.

As March Break officially gets underway, the OPP are ramping up their Distracted Driving campaign and to help kick off the week, they were given a vehicle display that is the key component in a safe driving message.

The Ford truck nicknamed ‘Scarface’ by Belleville Fire and Rescue Fire Prevention Officer Carson Cross has spent the past three years touring the region.

Cross says the truck came into their possession in a roundabout way.

He says the department was looking for vehicles in junk yards to use as Jaws of Life training when they came across this truck that was described as in one piece on one side and a mess on the other.

Belleville Fire Department Fire Prevention Officer Carson Cross speaks during a press conference about distracted driving. (Photo: Amanda Smith/ Quinte News)

It turns out, the truck was involved in a collision on highway 401 near Hwy. 37 when the driver got distracted by something on the passenger side.

That’s when the vehicle going 112km/h slammed into the back of a transport truck and came to a stop.

The driver survived and walked away with a couple of scratches said Cross.

Cross says as emergency responders, they hate these kinds of calls.

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OPP Inspector Paul Bedard from the East Region Headquarters says distracted driving affects more than just you.

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Last year, there were 83 deaths on OPP patrolled roadways directly linked to distracted driving.

Belleville Police Deputy Chief Michael Callaghan says road safety is their number one concern and there’s a good reason for it.

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Fire Chief Mark MacDonald says their goal as emergency responders is to prevent the actual incident from occurring in the first place.

The display will now travel all over the GTA and Ontario with the OPP as a teaching tool to help bring more awareness to the now number one cause of fatalities on our roadways.