OPP News Release
ORILLIA – Irresponsible drivers who put everyone at risk by failing to adjust their driving behaviour to account for sudden extreme weather conditions were once again responsible for hundreds of crashes and many multi-vehicle collisions in the central and southwestern part of the province yesterday.
The most basic preventative – common sense – driving behaviours which are the key to safe driving under these hazardous road conditions were absent from most of yesterday’s collisions according to the hundreds of OPP officers who responded to the thousands of calls for service that were received by OPP call centres located in Orillia and London.
These basic safe driving tips continue to be: Slow down! Don’t pass! Keep your distance between vehicles.
If you don’t need to be on the road, don’t travel. If you are on the road, make sure that your full lighting package is on. Your taillights are just as important to be seen by other drivers as your headlights in these kinds of conditions.
“Motorists who drive in these conditions with their ‘it won’t happen to me attitude’ and who continue to drive with reckless disregard for the safety of the other motorists around them and for our officers who have to respond to these calls, fail to take the most basic steps towards prevention of these avoidable collisions. The result was evident in the road carnage that we witnessed yesterday,” said OPP Deputy Commissioner Brad Blair, Provincial Commander of Traffic Safety and Operational Support.
“The media do a fantastic job of partnering with the OPP to help us deliver the message during these storms,” added Blair.
“Thanks to their assistance, the public is kept up to date on the major developments and traffic interruptions that are ongoing throughout the day; but what the public doesn’t know is the logistics and large number of front-line and support personnel that we need to be engaged and deployed to respond to these thousands of calls during these situations.”
Following are highlights of the response by OPP members (uniform and civilian) to the traffic occurrences in the afflicted areas of the province (excludes calls for regular police services) during the period between 7:00 am and 5:00 pm, February 27:
· Provincial Communications Centres in London and Orillia received over 3,300 calls for service.
· Approximately 646 motor vehicles collisions were reported.
· Numerous multi-vehicle collisions; including:
o Three on Highway 400 between Barrie and Toronto which resulted in a 10 hour shut down (98 vehicles);
o Highway 401 shut down in two locations around London area – one lasted for seven hours the other two hours;
o Highway 402, Sarnia 37 vehicles – two fatalities
o Highway 48, Stouffville, seven vehicles – one motorist struck by vehicle lost his leg
o Highway 11, Barrie, 10 vehicles
o Highway 7A, Port Perry area, 30 vehicles on causeway
· Three fatalities in total.
· Nine OPP vehicles were struck while out at the scene of these collisions. One unattended cruiser was demolished by a dump truck while the officer was out of the vehicle.
· One OPP officer sustained serious injuries in Perth County when her cruiser was struck from behind while at the scene of a collision.
The OPP continues to follow up today on the aftermath of this latest winter blast.
While the OPP extended its appreciation to those drivers who adjust their driving to the conditions of the roads, officers will continue to target those aggressive drivers who do not.