Fatalities are up on OPP-patrolled roads, waterways and trails

Motor vehicle fatalities are up across the province, according to the 2016 traffic statistics released by the OPP on Saturday.

In OPP jurisdictions, 307 people were killed in motor vehicle collisions in 2016. That’s a four-year high. Police say that 165 of those fatalities were attributed to the "big four" main causes: aggressive, inattentive or impaired driving, and failing to wear a seat belt.

Persons Killed in Motor Vehicle Collisions:

• 2016 - 307

• 2015 - 301

• 2014 - 290

• 2013 - 293

The OPP investigated 67,372 motor vehicle collisions in 2016, down from 69,934 in 2015.

Of those collisions, 275 resulted in fatalities and 11,506 of them resulted in injuries. The majority (55,591) caused property damage with no injuries sustained, but these collisions came with a significant economic cost to Ontarians.

Commercial Vehicles

Police say collisions involving transport trucks resulted in more than three times the number of fatalities than those involving regular-sized vehicles, a statistic that holds steady from year to year. As was the case in 2015, the majority of those who died in last year's transport truck collisions were occupants of other involved vehicles. Many of these fatalities are attributed to the “big four”.

Number of Collisions Involving Commercial Transport Trucks

• 2016 - 5,357

• 2015 - 5,381

Persons Killed

• 2016 - 67

• 2015 - 71

Number of Transport Truck Drivers Killed

• 2016 - 11

• 2015 - 10

Motorcyclists

While fewer collisions involving motorcycles happened last year than in the previous year, there was little change in the number of deaths. The OPP responded to 749 motorcycle crashes in 2016 which resulted in 33 fatalities. Speeding and losing control continue to be common contributing factors.

Motor Vehicle Collisions Involving Motorcycles

• 2016 - 749

• 2015 - 837

Persons Killed

• 2016 - 33

• 2015 - 35

Pedestrians

2016 marked the highest number of pedestrian deaths in more than 12 years, with 39 deaths. There were 25 pedestrian fatalities in 2015. The year 2009 was the last time the number exceeded 30.

Boaters / Paddlers

2016 marked the highest number of marine deaths in three years, with 23 people dying in 19 incidents on OPP-patrolled waterways. Seven of last year's fatal incidents involved non-motorized vessels such as canoes and kayaks.

Falling overboard was the primary cause in nine of the incidents. Capsized or swamped vessels were involved in seven of them and alcohol in eight of the incidents.

Every year, the majority of the victims are found not wearing a Personal Flotation Device (PFD). Last year, 19 of the 23 victims found with no PFD and in 2015, all of the deceased were found without one.

Number of Fatal Collisions/Incidents

• 2016 - 19

• 2015 -16

Persons Killed

• 2016 - 23

• 2015 - 18

Off-Roaders

OPP are calling it a particularly tragic year for off-road vehicles (ORV) enthusiasts, with 22 deaths marking a ten-year high in 2016. More than half (13) of the incidents were alcohol and/or drug-related. Nine of the victims were riding without a helmet.

Number of Fatal Collisions/Incidents

• 2016 - 22

• 2015 - 14

Persons Killed

• 2016 - 22

• 2015 - 14

Snowmobilers

Police say the entire 2016/2017 season turned out to be the most tragic snowmobile season in 14 years.

A total of 26 snowmobile deaths occurred, with 12 deaths in February alone. Speeding, driver inattention and losing control were primary causes in half of these deaths. Notably, 17 of the 26 victims were between 45 and 64 years old.

OPP Deputy Commissioner Brad Blair said, "Our traffic data is compelling evidence that poor, careless behaviour is at the core of the majority of the fatal collisions and incidents we investigate on roads, waterways and trails. Despite the hard facts, some people fail to grasp the magnitude of their role in preventing these senseless deaths.”

OPP say officers are committed to changing these behaviours through robust enforcement and education campaigns, but that motorists have to be the ones committed to changing their own behaviours.