The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) is releasing its 2020 collision and fatality data, noting historic highs in deaths among some vehicle user classes.
During an unprecedented year that saw a significant reduction in traffic on OPP-patrolled roads, collisions in 2020 resulted in a higher fatality rate than in the previous year. Of note is that there were 26 per cent fewer collisions in 2020, but the fatality rate was 22 per cent higher when compared to 2019 collisions.
Fatal Road Collisions: 304 Fatal Road Collisions: 285
Fatalities: 335 Fatalities: 305
Total # Collisions: 75,128 Total # Collisions: 55,581
A significant number of the fatalities were preventable and attributed to careless and dangerous driving behaviours. Among the deaths, 62 were linked to speed, 51 to alcohol/drug use and 45 to driver inattention. Lack of seat belt use contributed to 55 driver/passenger deaths.
Transport trucks (or other commercial vehicles) were involved in 6,145 of last year’s collisions.
Forty-two (42) motorcyclists were killed, marking a sharp increase over the 27 deaths in 2019. Failing to yield right-of-way and excessive speed were leading factors. In 37 of the incidents, no other vehicles were involved, underscoring the fact that motorcyclists are vulnerable road users who cannot afford to take any unnecessary risks.
Marine fatalities reached a 12-year high and were almost double over 2019, with 32 people killed in boating incidents. Capsized vessels (17) and falling overboard (12) were leading primary causes, with paddlers accounting for half of those who died. As is the case every year, the majority of the deceased (29) were found not wearing a life jacket – a simple measure that could have significantly reduced the number of deaths.
Last year’s 23 off-road vehicle fatalities marked the highest number of deaths in 14 years. Eight (8) of those who died were not wearing a helmet. Four (4) of the riders were wearing a helmet, but with the chin strap unfastened. Alcohol/drugs was a factor in approximately one third of the deaths.
The OPP has responded to 15 snowmobile fatalities so far this season, surpassing the 13 deaths during the 2019/20 season. Driving too fast for the conditions was a factor in half of the fatalities. The OPP is reminding snowmobilers to avoid riding on frozen waterways, especially this late in the season. To date, three (3) people have died after their snowmobiles broke through the ice or were driven into open water.
The OPP is reminding Ontarians that safe, defensive driving and full compliance with traffic laws while operating any type of motor vehicle or marine vessel is the only way to significantly reduce the number of preventable deaths.
The OPP remains committed to saving lives on roads, waterways and trails through targeted enforcement and education on traffic laws that are designed to keep people safe.