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OPP to crack down on distracted driving over Labour Day long weekend

OPP badge. Lars Hagberg/The Canadian Press/File.
OPP badge. Lars Hagberg/The Canadian Press/File. Lars Hagberg/The Canadian Press/File

Londoners are set to make the most of summer’s last gasp.

A good, but not great, forecast is in store for the last long weekend of the summer.

Friday’s forecast calls for mainly sunny conditions but a high of only 19. Saturday, Sunday and Monday will all have a mix of sun and cloud with the temperature rising from 19 on Saturday to 24 on the holiday Monday.

There is a 40 per cent chance of showers on Saturday.

OPP are reminding anyone who plans to travel over the weekend to keep their eyes on the road. Provincial police say they will conduct a Labour Day weekend distracting driving campaign from Friday until Labour Day.

READ MORE: Distracted driving causes more crashes in Ontario than intoxication, speeding: OPP

Since the start of the year, driver distraction has been reported as the primary cause in 6,360 road collisions, more than the number of collisions caused by speed, alcohol or drugs combined. OPP Sgt. Dave Rektor says the stats are discouraging.

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“The number of distracted driving is not reducing, in fact, it’s the leading factor of injury and death, which has now surpassed impaired driving, speeding and failing to wear a seatbelt,” said Rektor.

A total of 47 people have died so far this year because of an inattentive driver, up from 39 such deaths this time last year.

READ MORE: Two dead, two injured in Hwy. 401 crash near Dutton

“Public complacency about inattentive driving can be just as dangerous as the behaviour itself. Until drivers, passengers and the general public take a firm stand against this road safety issue, these tragedies are expected to continue in large numbers on our roads,” OPP Commissioner Vince Hawkes said in a statement.

OPP say there are steps people can take to reduce distracting driving including:

  • As a driver, keep your cell phone out of sight. If you need to use it, pull over at a safe location.
  • As a passenger, speak up and voice your concerns about your safety when travelling with a distracted driver. By ignoring the problem, you are contributing to the problem.
  • Spread the word at your school or workplace about the dangers of distracted driving.
  • Highlight the dangers of distracted driving on social media.
  • Be a voice in your community.

The focus on inattentive driving will continue next week with the start of school. Police say motorists need to pay full attention while driving, especially with kids crossing the street who may not look both ways before stepping onto the roadway.

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