Be careful out there

By Richard Mahoney
It is summer and it is time to begin enjoying the great outdoors, the open highway, waterways and trails. But do not throw caution to the wind, warns the Ontario Provincial Police.

Every year, the OPP responds to fatal road, off-road and marine collisions/incidents that could have had a more positive outcome had the victims worn critical lifesaving equipment.

If you’re not wearing your seatbelt, what’s holding you back?

Last year, 411 people were killed on OPP-patrolled roads. Among the victims were 69 people who were not wearing their seatbelt, which either contributed to, or was the primary cause of their death. With tens of thousands of collisions on OPP-patrolled roads every year, countless road users have survived and been spared of serious injuries as a result of being buckled up.

 The only lifejacket that can save your life is the one you’re wearing

On OPP-patrolled waterways, 17 of the 23 people who died in boating/paddling incidents last year were not wearing a lifejacket. A lifejacket keeps you afloat when you suddenly and unexpectedly fall out of or are thrown from your vessel. Falling overboard and capsized vessels are the leading causes of OPP-investigated boating/paddling fatalities every year. It cannot be over-stated how low the number of marine fatalities would be if everyone wore a lifejacket/personal floatation device.

Using your head when off-roading starts with putting a helmet on it

Among the 27 people who died in off-road vehicle collisions/incidents in OPP jurisdictions in 2023, 10 of them were not wearing a helmet. Impaired driving, losing control and speeding were the lead contributing factor in these deaths. This number could have been significantly lower had they worn a helmet. Not only is a helmet critical to saving your life, but it can greatly reduce the risk of brain injury if you do survive an off-roading incident.

While motorcyclists are largely compliant with Ontario helmet laws, OPP investigations into motorcyclist fatalities occasionally reveal a rider who did not wear a helmet. Motorcycle collisions often occur at high speeds, making it critical for riders to wear a helmet and protective clothing at all times.

Leading up to and during the Canada Day long weekend, the OPP will be out raising awareness of and enforcing laws around seatbelt, lifejacket and helmet use. Officers hope to see zero violations and everyone doing their part to keep themselves and their passengers safe while on roads, waterways and trails.

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