Motorists can expect an increased police presence out on local roadways starting Tuesday heading into the Victoria Day long weekend as officers target aggressive, distracted and impaired drivers along with those not wearing seat belts.
On Tuesday, the Quinte Region Traffic Coalition launched efforts in support of Canada Road Safety Week that runs from May 16 to 22.
Throughout the enforcement and education blitz local police detachments in partnership with the Hastings Prince Edward Public Health Unit are focusing on the ‘Big 4 Killers’ – aggressive driving, distracted driving, impaired driving and improper or non-use of seat belts.
Quinte West OPP Inspector Christina Reeve said distracted driving is a huge problem that police forces are having issues ‘making a dent in.’
Since 2009, approximately 600 deaths have been linked to distracted driving, on OPP-patrolled roads.
During the 2016 Road Safety campaign, more than 1,200 charges were laid including 1,008 for speeding, 51 for seat belt violations, 31 for distracted driving and nine for impaired driving.
Reeve said with the staggering numbers that continue to rise she finds it surprising that some still don’t seem to get the message.
Inspector Reeve said there will also be marine units on local waterways making sure boat operators are not impaired and everyone is using life jackets.
Centre Hastings OPP Staff Sergeant Detachment Commander Scott Semple explained warnings are completely up to each officer’s discretion, however that’s not the message they’re sending.
Collision Investigator Brad Stitt of the Belleville Traffic Safety Unit recommends planning ahead to avoid incidents especially with an increased amount of traffic this weekend.
Other useful tips include: putting your phone on silent or ask a passenger to answer it for you; drive sober and always use your seat belt.