9 dead in Essex County vehicle collisions so far in 2022

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Provincial police are releasing stats on vehicle fatalities in the region, just ahead of Canada Road Safety Week. 

Essex OPP say they’ve attended 6 fatal collisions resulting in a total of 9 deaths so far this year. That sets a disturbing trend compared to the figure of 8 fatal collisions for all of 2021.

The trend doesn’t appear to be isolated to Essex County. 107 fatalities have been reported on OPP Patrolled roads so far this year—a figure not seen since 2012.

OPP Constable Steven Duguay tells AM800, most incidents come down to one thing; distracted driving.

“This is what it comes down to. It comes down to something very simple. Focus on driving,” he began. “You get into your vehicle, you’re going to your destination. Put your phone aside—I’ve seen anything from makeup to reading a newspaper—so many distractions.”

Duguay says phones are still the number one cause of distracted driving incidents.

“Put it in the back seat, put it in the purse, put it in the trunk, put it somewhere where you’re not tempted to pick up the phone as soon as it goes off. Leave that text message for later, leave that call for later if you don’t have hands-free in your car. Focus on driving,” he says.

OPP say there are a few more stand-out behaviours that tend to cause collisions.

  • Fatalities linked to driver inattention are up 79 per cent over this time last year, with the loss of 25 lives to date. There were 14 such deaths last year at this time.
  •  Alcohol/drug-related fatalities are also up, with the 15 people killed marking a 36 per cent increase over last year's 11 deaths at this time.
  •  Twenty seven (27) speed-related fatalities are not far off last year's mark and continue to take the greatest toll among the poor driving behaviours.
  •  With 15 seat belt-related deaths marking a slight increase over last year, unsafe drivers as well as passengers (and drivers) who don't buckle up are setting the stage for an exceptionally tragic year on OPP-patrolled roads.

Duguay shares, leading causes of collisions like speeding are never worth it.

“If two people are leaving at the same time, one person following the speed limit, following the traffic flow, and you have another car leap-frogging to car after car trying to get there faster, the amount of time that’s going to save you is, what, a couple of minutes? Is it worth putting your life on the line?”

During the annual Canada Road Safety Week campaign, the OPP will join national policing partners to conduct robust enforcement/education around inattentive/distracted driving, speeding and other aggressive driving, alcohol/drug impaired driving, seatbelt compliance and other risky road behaviours.