341 traffic fatalities on OPP patrolled roads in 2017: police

Ontario Provincial Police say 341 people died on OPP patrolled roads in 2017. Lars Hagberg / The Canadian Press

The Ontario Provincial Police say that 341 people died on OPP patrolled roads in 2017, up 11 per cent from 2016.

OPP Sgt. Kerry Schmidt discussed the breakdown of the numbers in a periscope released Tuesday.

The number one cause of death was aggressive driving and speeding, up 35 per cent from the previous year, which led to 75 fatalities.

Eighty-three deaths were due to inattentive drivers, which Schmidt said does not just mean people on their cellphones, but “all sorts of activities that are taking your attention away from driving.”

READ MORE: Truck driver killed in collision near Acton, west of Toronto: OPP

Impaired driving, due to drugs and/or alcohol cost 42 people their lives and 47 people were killed because they were not wearing their seatbelts.

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Back in December, provincial police warned drivers, especially those who drive transport trucks, of the dangers of impaired driving and inattentive driving following a series of deaths on Ontario roads this year.

Three people were killed in November following a fiery multi-vehicle crash on Highway 400 involving five commercial trucks.

“The fact that we have seen an increase in the number of fatalities is certainly not something that we want to see continue,” Schmidt said.”Sadly we have already seen multiple fatalities [in 2018] across the province.”

READ MORE: Family says father of 9 killed in fiery crash on Highway 400

There was a fatal collision on Highway 7 in Acton, just west of Toronto early Tuesday morning. A 61-year-old man from Guelph was killed after his commercial vehicle went off the highway and struck a hydro pole.

The man was rushed to hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.

Another person died after a head-on collision between a tractor-trailer and an SUV in Oakville around 10:30 a.m.

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“This is tragic news for families who are getting the worst news they could be getting.”

In a Twitter Q&A Tuesday afternoon Schmidt said the top three safety tips he could give drivers were to keep “eyes on the road, head in the game and hands on the wheel.”

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