Be prepared for more officers patrolling the highways this winter

Posted by Jon van Ekelenburg on February 5, 2012


The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) plan to increase enforcement on Ontario highways this winter in response to a study of OPP statistics showing that the number of people who have died in accidents on OPP-patrolled highways this January is over double the number a year ago.


As the weather during January has shifted dramatically from day to day, the OPP is reminding drivers that they must be prepared to adjust their driving behaviours to the weather at a moment's notice, and that it is the driver's responsibility to be prepared for changing road conditions.


This is true. Unfavourable weather conditions don't usually hold up as an excuse for most traffic violations. Please remember that the courts will point out that all drivers will have to contend with the same conditions, so simply saying the weather was bad will not be a sufficient defence for your driving. Certain types of weather problems can be used as an explanation, like a rogue patch of ice on a road where no other ice was present, but those explanations are few and far between. Don't expect to be able to use the weather as a defence.


The OPP has announced it will be using all its available resources to target enforcement on the highways and educate drivers on what they call the "Big Four" high-risk driving behaviours: aggressive driving, distracted driving, impaired driving and occupants not wearing safety restraints.


"We will be relentless in our approach," said Chief Superintendent Don Bell, Commander Highway Safety Division of the OPP. "We intend to use every available means at our disposal to stem this needless loss of lives."


Between January 1 and 18 this year, 17 people have died in vehicle crashes on Ontario highways, which the OPP says is an unusually high number, especially compared to the eight that died in the same period in 2011.


We hope you'll be careful on the roads as we continue to experience the strange weather of this winter.

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