Almost half of impaired driving fatalities are ‘innocent’ victims: OPP

FILE PHOTO. Lars Hagberg/The Canadian Press/File

ORILLIA, Ont. – Provincial police say nearly half of the people killed in impaired driving crashes over the past 15 years were not the impaired driver.

They say 987 people have died in alcohol or drug-related collisions on OPP-patrolled roads since 2003.

OPP say 464 – 47 per cent – of those people were “innocent victims,” while the other 523 were the at-fault impaired driver.

So far this year, provincial police said 37 people, 19 of whom were not the driver, have died in collisions linked to an alcohol or drug-impaired driver on OPP-patrolled roads.

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They said this marks the fourth consecutive year when the number of innocent people killed is higher than that of impaired drivers who caused the collision.

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Deputy Commissioner Brad Blair is urging those who see a suspected impaired driver to call 911 and said minding your own business about impaired drivers is the wrong thing to do.

“As difficult as it may be to report someone you know to police, living with the decision not to is far worse if that driver goes on to kill someone or themselves in a crash,” Blair said Thursday in a statement.

The OPP’s annual Festive “Reduce Impaired Driving Everywhere” (R.I.D.E.) campaign gets underway this week.

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“As we gather with family and friends this holiday season, let’s make safety a priority by planning ahead,” said Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services Marie-France Lalonde in a release Thursday.

“Whether arranging for a designated driver, taking public transit, or suggesting alternate arrangements for someone you think is impaired – simple steps can ensure everybody arrives home safely.”

–With files from Jessica Patton

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