A disturbing trend to say the least. The OPP have crunched their year-end numbers of 2017, and have found that fatalities in the region and across the province have been climbing.

In the North West Region, 27 people died on OPP-patrolled roads in 2017, representing a four year high. Local officers responded to 2,963 collisions last year, 22 of those were fatal. In 2016, officers responded to 2,902 crashes, 9 of them being fatal.

- Inattentive-related deaths – 6 in 2017, 4 in 2016.

“We continually find that people are still driving with their cell phones,” said OPP Sergeant Shelley Garr. “That is our number one inattentive charge in the North West region. People need to put their phones down.”

- Seat-belt-related deaths – 6 in 2017, 2 in 2016.
- Marine-related deaths – 3 in 2017, 2 in 2016.
- Off-road-related deaths – 2 in 2017, 1 in 2016.
- Pedestrian deaths – 1 in 2017, 1 in 2016.
- Snowmobile-related deaths – 3 in 2017, 1 in 2016.

“For fatalities, a disturbing trend is that the numbers are increasing. We don’t want 2018 to be any higher than 2017 was.” Garr added.

Speed-related deaths and alcohol / drug-related deaths both saw decreases in 2017 in the North West Region.

Across the province, the OPP saw increases in almost all fatality categories – including a five year high in deaths on OPP-patrolled roads. There were 343 deaths in 2017 on the road, compared to 307 deaths in 2016. The OPP responded to 68,794 collisions last year, where there was only 67,540 crashes in 2016.

- Inattentive-related deaths – 83 in 2017, 64 in 2016.
- Speed-related deaths – 75 in 2017, 54 in 2016.
- Seat-belt-related deaths – 49 in 2017, 45 in 2016.
- Alcohol / drug-related deaths – 46 in 2017, 47 in 2016.

For motorcycle enthusiasts, drivers saw a ten-year high in deaths on OPP-patrolled roads in 2017. There were 48 deaths in 2017, compared to 36 in 2016. Out of the 48 deaths in 2017, 27 were not at fault.

Transport truck-related deaths also saw a ten-year high. There were 76 collisions in 2017 that involved a transport truck, and there were 91 deaths. In 2016, 77 people died in 66 transport truck collisions. The driver of the transport truck accounted for 15 of last year’s 91 fatalities, while 76 of the victims were in other vehicles involved, pedestrians or passengers in the transport truck.

Snowmobile fatalities reached an all-time record high in 2017 with 29 deaths. Excessive speed, loss of control and driver inattention led the primary list of causes. There were 16 snowmobile deaths in 2016.

Marine fatalities reached an eight-year high with 31 people passing away in 2017, compared to 23 deaths in 2016. With falling overboard being the lead contributing factor in both years, the OPP say the outcome could have been different for the 42 victims who were found not, or not properly wearing a personal flotation device over the two years.

A total of 22 people died in off-road vehicle incidents in 2017, which is the same number as 2016. Approximately half of those who died over the two-year period were found not wearing a helmet.

"The OPP is saddened and disappointed to see 2017 mark one of the worst years in recent history for fatalities on and off the road,” said OPP Commissioner Vince Hawkes. “

As is the case every year, the majority of these deaths were preventable and attributed to poor driving behaviours. Until all drivers respect and observe road, off-road and marine laws that are designed to keep us all safe, these tragic deaths will continue.”

On the positive side, there were less pedestrian deaths in 2017 with just 27. There were 39 in 2016.

For more information:
Distracted driving more than cell phones, OPP