With another long weekend in the books, police in the region say the constant safety messages aren't registering with some people, either on the roads or on the water.
Canada Road Safety Week was held May 16-22, an enforcement-driven initiative led by the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (CACP) and, more specifically, by the CACP’s traffic safety committee. The initiative was created to increase public compliance with safe driving measures in an effort to reduce injuries, or prevent deaths, on the roads.
Ontario Provincial Police report that 21 people have already died this year on provincially patrolled roads in Central Region.
During the Canada Road Safety Week campaign, OPP officers in Central Region completed 2,710 traffic stops and laid 2,534 traffic-related charges focused on poor driving behaviour.
Canada Road Safety Week focuses on behaviours that put drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and other vulnerable road users at risk, including the "big four" contributing factors for injury and death on the roads, which include impaired driving, distracted driving, speed or aggressive driving, and lack of seat-belt use.
The following number of charges were laid in Central Region:
- Speeding — 1,234
- Stunt/racing — 37
- Seat-belt — 79
- Distracted driving — 33
- Impaired — 45
- Careless driving — 23
- Driving while prohibited — 11
- Other charges — 1,072
- Driver's licence suspensions — 13
With Simcoe County and the surrounding area being the gateway to Muskoka's many lakes and waterways, the Victoria Day long weekend also marked the return of scheduled marine patrols for the 2023 summer season staffed by South Simcoe police officers of the traffic and marine unit.
Regular patrols will be conducted throughout the summer until Labour Day.
Police remind residents and visitors to check their safety equipment before heading out on the water. Over the weekend, officers encountered several boaters without proper life-jackets, PFDs or the necessary safety equipment aboard.
The Southern Georgian Bay OPP marine unit was also out on patrol over the long weekend. Officers in the Midland area checked 66 vessels during their 31 hours of patrol on area waterways.
Despite years of ongoing and regular safety reminders, the OPP says officers still located and charged four boaters who failed to have a sufficient number of life-jackets for all occupants onboard. Four boaters were charged and 18 others were warned with violations under the Canada Shipping Act related primarily to the lack of essential safety equipment on their vessel.
Officers also conducted patrols along the Tiny Township shoreline and in the area of Giant's Tomb focused impaired boating and other alcohol-related offences, with general patrols being made around Midland, Penetanguishene, Honey Harbour, and Tay Township.