OPP poised for enforcement blitz
With the Labour Day long weekend upon us, the OPP is poised to step up enforcement on roads, waterways, and trails everywhere, including here in Rainy River District.
“Our local detachment plans for the September Labour Day Long Weekend Traffic Initiative includes a constant police presence on our area highways, in particular Highway 11 throughout the entire Rainy River District,” OPP Community Services Officer Cst. Anne McCoy said yesterday.
“All working uniform members will be participating in the directive to ensure that the OPP is doing what we can to combat aggressive drivers and those who choose to drink and drive while travelling on Ontario highways this Labour Day weekend.”
Cst. McCoy said that locally, in addition to calls for service, the OPP has designated officers to be positioned on highways to promote increased police visibility and enhance enforcement.
“In addition, officers will be conducting R.I.D.E. programs throughout the district, including one provincially-funded paid duty R.I.D.E. program for designated officers to focus reducing impaired driving within the Town of Fort Frances,” she remarked.
“The message is clear—drive responsibly and do not drink alcohol and then drive,” she stressed.
Heading into the final long weekend of the summer, 2012 is shaping up to be a bad year for road fatalities in Ontario.
Some 232 people have died on roads and highways (within OPP jurisdiction) as of Aug. 27, compared to 195 during the same time period last year, an OPP press release stated.
In the North West Region, 10 people have died on the roads and highways compared to 13 during the same time period last year.
OPP Commissioner Chris Lewis said the solution to eliminating collisions and the senseless loss of life is as simple as making a firm commitment to good driving behaviour and obeying all of the laws in place to keep everyone safe.
Lewis noted the term “accident” no longer is commonly used among OPP members when referring to collisions because it implies that no one is at fault when someone dies or is seriously injured.
There is almost always someone at fault—and quite often it is not the person who is injured or killed.
“If someone else dies in a collision because you were speeding or texting while driving, or because you decided to drive after having consumed alcohol, this is not an accident—this is a preventable incident that was caused because you were careless and chose to break the law and in the process, an innocent life was taken,” stressed Commissioner Lewis.
“Tragically, the person or persons who died had no hand in the costly decision that you made and this is what makes it extremely difficult for the families of the victims to deal with,” he added.
“Our statistics show that in most of the road, marine, and trail incidents we investigate, the causal factor is attributable to human error and/or bad judgement, and could have been prevented if everyone simply obeyed our laws because they do save lives,” echoed OPP Deputy Commissioner Larry Beechey, Provincial Commander of Traffic Safety.
“We would prefer to not have to lay any charges at all this weekend, and would rather see people be fully compliant with our laws,” said Chief Superintendent Don Bell, Commander of the OPP Highway Safety Division.
“Because of the increased number of motorists, boaters, and trail users out on long weekends, we know that there will be more careless, inattentive people to deal with,” Bell noted.
“And we fully expect to lay numerous charges in our ongoing efforts to save lives and make our roads, waterways, and trails safer,” he added.