Bad Behaviours Lead To Marked Increase In On And Off Road Deaths In Ontario

Last snowmobile season deadliest in 14 years

OPP sounding alarm bells after deaths on and off the road last year hit a four year high. OPP investigated 307 deaths. Bad behaviour was to blame for more than half of the deaths – aggressive, inattentive and impaired driving, as well as non-use of seat belts. Snowmobile deaths were of particular concern – 26 in the 2016-2017 season, highest in 13 years. Off-roading claimed 22 lives – up from 14 a year earlier, many of them alcohol-related. Thirty-nine pedestrians were killed – 2009 the last year that number exceeded 30. “Our traffic data is compelling evidence that poor, careless behaviour is at the core of the majority of the fatal collisions and incidents we investigate on roads, waterways and trails. Despite the hard facts, some people fail to grasp the magnitude of their role in preventing these senseless deaths. The OPP remains committed to changing these costly behaviours through robust enforcement and education campaigns. The rest is up to Ontarians.” – OPP Deputy Commissioner Brad Blair, Provincial Commander, Traffic Safety and Operational Support.

Here’s the full breakdown:

Persons Killed
2016 – 307
2015 – 301
Persons Killed – speed-related
2016 – 55
2015 – 63
Persons Killed – inattentive-related
2016 – 65
2015 – 68
Persons Killed – alcohol/drug-related
2016 – 45
2015 – 45
The OPP investigated 67,372 motor vehicle collisions in 2016, down from 2015 (69,934 collisions).
Marking another four-year high are the 275 collisions that resulted in fatalities.
Fatal Motor Vehicle Collisions
2016 – 275
2015 – 262
2014 – 268
2013 – 254
Of last year’s crashes, 11,506 of them resulted in injuries. The majority (55,591) were property damage collisions with no injuries sustained, but these collisions came with a significant economic cost to Ontarians.

While last year marked fewer collisions involving motorcycles than in the previous year, there was little change in the number of deaths.
The OPP responded to 749 motorcycle crashes in 2016 which resulted in 33 fatalities. Speeding and losing control continue to be common contributing factors.

Sadly, 2016 marked the highest number of pedestrian deaths in more than 12 years, with 39 deaths. There were 25 such deaths in 2015. The year 2009 was the last time the number exceeded 30.

Boaters / Paddlers 
2016 marked the highest number of marine deaths in three years, with 23 people dying in 19 incidents on OPP-patrolled waterways. Seven of last year’s fatal incidents involved non-motorized vessels (e.g. canoes, kayaks). Falling overboard was the primary cause in nine of the incidents. Capsized or swamped vessels were involved in seven of them and alcohol in eight of the incidents.
Every year, the majority of the victims are found not wearing a Personal Floatation Device (PFD). Last year, 19 of the 23 victims found with no PFD and in 2015, all of the deceased were found without one.

It was a particularly tragic year for off-road vehicle (ORV) enthusiasts, with 22 deaths marking a ten-year high in 2016. More than half (13) of the incidents were alcohol-drug-related and nine of the victims were riding without a helmet. These two behaviours were a common theme in 2015 as well as in previous years.

With the data just in for the entire 2016/2017 season, the OPP is reporting 26 snowmobile deaths, which is the highest number of lives lost since the 2003/2004 season. There were 12 deaths in February alone. Speeding, driver inattention and losing control were primary causes in half of these deaths. Notably, 17 of the 26 victims were between 45 and 64 years old.