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Deaths for drivers speeding in Ontario hit 10-year high

A reconstruction OPP officer attends the site of a crash in the westbound 401, northeast of Kingston, Ont. on Thursday May 11, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Lars Hagberg

The number of people who died as a result of speeding on Ontario‘s roads spiked last year to a 10-year high, police say.

A total of 315 people died on roads patrolled by the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) in 2021, an increase of three per cent on 2020, the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read more: Driver faces impaired charges after car found in ditch

The total number of fatal collisions grew from 284 to 288, according to the OPP. The force responded to 60,544 road crashes through the year.

“This is just another reminder to everyone: please, share the road and drive responsibly,” Sgt. Kerry Schmidt said in a video on Twitter.

Collisions involving commercial vehicles were also up, reaching 7,215 crashes last year. There was a 26 per cent increase in deaths leading to 72 people losing their lives in commercial vehicle crashes.

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Read more: OPP recovers body after vehicle enters river near Ethel, Ont.

Police reported issues with speeding on empty roads during the early days  of the pandemic.

Between March 23 and April 27, 2020, Toronto police said there were 222 stunt driving incidents. There were 32 incidents during the same period in 2019.

“We’ve seen officers reporting three times the speed limit,” Toronto police Sgt. Jason Kraft previously told Global News.

Read more: Toronto sees nearly 600% increase in stunt driving during coronavirus pandemic: police

The OPP said more than a quarter of all road deaths they dealt with last year came as result of speeding.

The number of deaths due to speeding increased by 31 per cent compared to 2020, while the number of deaths attributed to inattention grew 29 per cent.

There was a drop in the number of alcohol and drug-related deaths and for people killed not wearing a seatbelt, the OPP said.

Drug and alcohol deaths for drivers dropped 46 per cent, from 57 to 31.

— With files from Global News’ Ryan Rocca

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