Surge in pedestrian deaths prompts call by OPP for greater focus and awareness

An SD&G OPP police cruiser. Nation Valley News file photo

EASTERN ONTARIO — The alarming number of pedestrian fatalities in 2016 has the Ontario Provincial Police advising motorists to take extra care when driving this winter.

Thirty pedestrians have lost their lives on Ontario roadways patrolled by the OPP this year, a 66 percent increase over the same period in 2015, when 18 pedestrians were killed.

Within East Region this year, officers have (as of Dec. 6) investigated eight pedestrian fatalities, already matching the total reached of 2015.   

Police are reminding motorists of winter’s reduced daylight hours and weather that can instantly change road conditions, challenging even the most experienced driver. It’s a driver’s obligation to remain alert, focus on the road, avoid distractions, watch for pedestrians and always be prepared to stop.

Police also point out that If you find yourself involved in a motor vehicle collision, you are encouraged to remain with your vehicle.  If you do need to exit your vehicle, be certain it is safe to do so, be vigilant of the surroundings you are in and mindful of oncoming or passing vehicles.

Police also remind pedestrians to be aware of their surroundings, don’t become distracted and to never, ever assume a driver sees them, even if the pedestrian can see the vehicle.  If walking along roadways during dusk, darkness or adverse weather conditions, dress with reflective or light coloured clothing — and listen, watch for approaching traffic, and stay on sidewalks or well onto the shoulder of the road.

Go to http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/safety/ for additional safety tips.

“The OPP strives for safe highways and communities and whether you’re driving or walking, safety is everyone’s responsibility,” advises Traffic Inspector Paul Bedard.

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