OPP say road fatalities headed for 10-year high

There have been more than 107 fatalities on Ontario Provincial Police patrolled roads so far this year.

It's the first time since 2012 that the number of people killed in road collisions in the province reached 100 by the second week of May.

Just in northeastern Ontario, 20 people have died as a result of 16 different crashes, OPP Sgt. Carlo Berardi told CTV News in an email.

"We’re actually up 100 per cent from this time last year -- we’re at 20 fatalities already, which is very disappointing,” said OPP Staff Sgt. Tyler Croxall about the northeastern statistics in an interview.

Croxall said poor driving behaviours have been behind many of the crashes.

Joel Quenville has been a driving instructor in Sudbury for more than three decades. In that time, Quenville has seen distracted driving become more deadly than impaired driving.

"In the 34 years that I’ve been teaching, cars have been getting safer and safer but the accidents haven’t been going down," he said.

"It's an attitude that we have to try to change and that’s what I try to do in the class -- try to change the attitude."

For years, impaired driving was the No. 1 killer, followed by drowsiness. Today, both have been replaced by distracted driving.

"I’ve told students that the fine is like $1,000, $2,000, $3,000, (but) the kids… don’t seem to think it's that serious," Quenville said.

"It’s a way of life -- sometimes they say that."

Two driving behaviours stand out in this year's road deaths. Fatalities linked to driver inattention are up 79 per cent compared to 2021. In total, 25 lives have been lost to date, compared to 14 last year.

Alcohol/drug-related fatalities are also up, with the 15 people killed compared to 11 deaths at this time in 2021.

Since this is Canada Road Safety Week, drivers should expect more enforcement on the province's roadways.

"Including the long weekend in particular, there will be additional enforcement there will be additional vehicle stops," said Croxall.