SD&G – SD&G O.P.P. officers will be hitting the roads, rivers and lakes in force for the first unofficial opener to summer.
“This, being the first long weekend of the nice weather, the population of motorists on the roadways will increase,” Const. Joel Doiron tells Cornwall Newswatch, saying officers will be concentrating on the so-called “Big 4.”
Those are impaired driving, distracted driving, aggressive drivers and those not wearing seat belts.
“That being said a lot of residents will be heading off to cottages this weekend which means our waterways are going to get busy. Our marine unit is ready to enforce and provide safety on our waterways as well,” Doiron said.
Safe Boating Week starts Saturday. Last year, 20 people in Ontario died in boating mishaps – the lowest number in the last decade. The O.P.P. says, that aside, people still need to learn the importance of wearing a lifejacket. All but three of those deaths were attributed to people not wearing a PFD or lifejacket.
Doiron says calls for service typically increase during the summer months but the O.P.P. has traffic and water enforcement units dedicated to road and water safety while other officers are handling the usual calls for service.
The constable thinks the message on the “Big 4” is getting through. “I think it is. It’s more about education and repetition. Unfortunately, we have to remind people and enforcement isn’t only focused on long weekends…but on a regular basis,” he says.
He says motorists not only have to obey the law but need to be vigilant in reporting aggressive and illegal behaviour on the road.
The Victoria Day weekend also coincides with Canada Road Safety Week and Doiron says people should be keeping an eye out for other road users – motorcycles on the road as well and all-terrain vehicles in the bush and on the trails.
Last year across Ontario, 11 people died in off-road vehicle crashes and 32 perished in motorcycle wrecks.
Fortunately, there were no road- or water-related deaths in SD&G during the Victoria Day weekend last year.