OPP disappointed as preventable on and off-road fatalies climb

OPP say there’s been a dramatic rise in deaths on the roads, in water and on trails.

They say 2017 marked an increase in all fatality categories with 343 people in total losing their lives.

"The OPP is saddened and disappointed to see 2017 mark one of the worst years in recent history for fatalities on and off the road,” OPP said in a statement.

“As is the case every year, the majority of these deaths were preventable and attributed to poor driving behaviours. Until all drivers respect and observe road, off-road and marine laws that are designed to keep us all safe, these tragic deaths will continue".

On the road:  

A total of 343 people died on OPP-patrolled roads last year, marking a five-year high. There were 307 deaths in 2016.

The OPP responded to 68,794 collisions last year, 304 of which were fatal. In 2016, there were 67,450 crashes with 275 of the incidents resulting in fatalities. 

Factors that led to the fatalities included:

Big Four                           2017     2016

Inattentive-related:            83       64    

Speed-related:                  75       54

Seat belt-related:              49       45

Alcohol/drug-related:        46       47

Motorcycles:

There were 43 motorcycle deaths last year, marking the highest number of motorcycle deaths in ten years.

Also marking a ten-year high are the 27 motorcyclists who were not at fault in the collisions. There were 36 motorcycle deaths in 2016.     

Transport trucks:

There were 91 people who died in 76 collisions that involved a commercial transport truck, marking another ten-year high.

By comparison, 77 people died in 66 fatal transport truck collisions in 2016.  

Pedestrians:

Fewer pedestrian were killed last year with 27 deaths, compared to 39 deaths in 2016.

Snowmobilers:

Snowmobile fatalities reached an all-time record high in 2017, with 29 deaths.  Excessive speed, loss of control and driver inattention led the list of primary causes. There were 16 snowmobile deaths in 2016.    

Boaters/paddlers: 

Marine fatalities reached an eight-year high with 31 people dying last year, compared to 23 deaths in 2016. With falling overboard being the lead contributing factor both years, the outcome could have been different for the 42 victims who were found not (or not properly) wearing a personal floatation device over the two-year period.

Off-road:

A total of 22 people died in off-road vehicle incidents last year which is the same number of deaths as in 2016. Approximately half of those who died over the two-year period were found not wearing a helmet.