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Traffic deaths surpass 400 for the first time in 15 years in Ontario: OPP

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Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) say 2023 was a historically tragic year on OPP-patrolled roads.

Police say 411 people were killed in collisions on roadways, marking the first time the number of fatalities exceeded 400 since 2007.  

“As the years have gone by, numbers have been increasing,” said Sgt. Kerry Schmidt, with OPP.

According to data collected by OPP, last year saw 411 fatal crashes on OPP-patrolled roadways which also include pedestrian deaths involving a motor vehicle. 

They report it’s 52 more deaths than the year before, and the most reported since 2007.

Police say 411 people were killed in collisions on roadways, marking the first time the number of fatalities exceeded 400 since 2007. (Johnny Mazza/CTV News) “Absolute tragedies for all respects in terms of the lives that are lost,” Schmidt said. “The fact that those numbers have crept up is a very concerning factor for us.”

OPP’s west region is the most impacted with 106 deaths, 52 of those deaths happened in the Greater Toronto Area.

Police are pointing the finger at the leading contributors: reckless driving, distracted driving and alcohol.

“We are up about 30 per cent right now in impaired driving crashes as well as impaired driving collisions, more specifically in the GTA,” Schmidt said.

Earlier this month, OPP’s Highway Safety Division announced mandatory alcohol testing at all traffic stops in the GTA no matter what you were pulled over for.

Police say it’s a move to put drunk driving in the rear view.

“These numbers can come down dramatically and obviously we’re doing everything we can but we can’t do it alone.”

OPP cover more than 127,000 kilometres of provincial roadway. They say responsibility falls on drivers to stay safe.

“The consequences for making a bad decision can be life altering and can be deadly.”

Local Numbers

In Wellington County, OPP reported an 80 per cent increase in fatal collisions from 2022 to 2023.

Nineteenpeople were killed on roadways in 2023 and in 2022, it was 13.

In Norfolk County, there was a decrease in fatal collisions. Eight people were killed on roadways last year, whereas in 2022, 10 people lost their lives.

Perth County also saw a decline in fatal collisions on roadways. OPP report that seven people were killed in 2023 and nine people were killed in 2022.

Deaths were on the decline in Brant County. Five people were killed in 2023 and eight people were killed in 2022.

During Canada Road Safety Week, running from May 14 to May 20, the OPP will join police services across the country to target behaviours that place drivers, passengers and other road users at risk. 

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