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OPP conducting Long Weekend Distracted Driving campaign ahead of school start

OPP launching Long Weekend Distracted Driving campaign ahead of school resuming.
OPP launching Long Weekend Distracted Driving campaign ahead of school resuming. Global News File

Ontario Provincial Police are conducting a Labour Day Long Weekend Distracted Driving campaign before schools resume next week.

Back-to-school season brings an increase of pedestrian, cyclist, and school bus traffic to roads, crosswalks, and sidewalks, according to police.

OPP is launching the campaign from Aug. 30 to Sept. 2 to highlight the importance of paying full attention to driving.

“With the last long weekend of the summer fast approaching, let’s stay vigilant while driving,” said Solicitor General Sylvia Jones.

“Protect your family, friends and other drivers by keeping your eyes on the road at all times, be mindful behind the wheel and avoid distracted driving behaviours such as texting. Let’s all have a safe and enjoyable Labour Day weekend.”

READ MORE: ‘We’re out there’: Durham Regional Police cracking down on distracted driving

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OPP is also reminding passengers that they are never safe in a vehicle with a driver who is texting or talking on their cell phone. OPP said passengers can help save lives by adopting a ‘no cell phone use’ policy with all drivers. 

WATCH BELOW: Distracted driving – when is ‘one touching’ your phone allowed?

Distracted driving: When is ‘one touching’ your phone allowed?
Distracted driving: When is ‘one touching’ your phone allowed?

According to police, 24 pedestrians were killed in OPP jurisdictions in 2018, with distracted driving being the main cause in seven of the deaths. This year, OPP said two pedestrian deaths have been caused by distracted motorists, with 21 pedestrian deaths in total.

OPP also said they investigated 304 school bus collisions last year, 76 of which were caused by distracted motorists or school bus drivers. This year, police say the total of school bus collisions so far is 158, with 37 collisions having been caused by distracted motorists or school bus drivers.

READ MORE: Distracted driving main cause of injury on Sask. roads, tougher penalties considered

“Drivers who use their cell phone or are distracted in other ways continue to endanger the lives of people of all ages who share the road with them, be it as a driver, passenger, pedestrian or cyclist,” said Alison Jevons, OPP’s Acting Deputy Commissioner and Provincial Commander of Traffic Safety and Operational Support.

“With the new school year set to begin, we need all motorists to make a firm commitment to keeping all forms of distraction out of the driver’s seat.”

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OPP said they laid more than 180 charges against drivers for failing to stop for school buses in 2018.