OPP reports 30 per cent reduction in GTA crashes during COVID-19 outbreak

OPP cruiser

The Ontario Provincial Police is reporting a 30 per cent reduction in GTA crashes since the beginning of March, following the province declaring a state of emergency due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

“It seems like every day feels like a Sunday morning with the traffic volumes that we’re having and may be even lighter on weekends,” Sgt. Kerry Schmidt said.

While the reduction is good news with less traffic, Schmidt echoed what other local police forces, such as York Regional Police, have seen, which is an increase in stunt driving and excessive speeds with more open roads.

He said it’s bad enough when someone is sent to the hospital in an avoidable crash, but even worse now with the health care system having its capacity levels tested during the pandemic.

The role of personal responsibility is highlighted by one crash Thursday morning says Schmidt, involving someone who had recently travelled from abroad, but decided to go for a drive when they should’ve been at home during the mandatory 14-day self-isolation period.

“Was not feeling well, crashed their car because of their symptoms and obviously they were still within the 14 days when they should’ve been at home,” he said, adding they’re following up on the person’s recent activities.

“This is real,” he said. “The public as a whole needs to do their part to keep vigilant and be compliant to the recommendations and the requirements of their own safety.”

The Toronto Public Service is not reporting a significant change in calls for service at this point. ​