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Traffic safety report shows increase of pedestrian deaths

By: Sam Normand

In 2011 Ontario’s roads were the safest in 80 years, unless you’re a pedestrian, according to the recently released traffic safety statistics report.

The report was released by the Ontario Provincial Police last week, showing statistics for fatalities on Ontario’s roads and trails.

All areas covered by the report showed marked reduction except one: pedestrian fatalities. In fact, a dramatic increase of approximately 30% more were killed along Ontario’s roads in 2011 than 2010.

Seargeant Kristine Rae attributes these deaths largely to pedestrians not being cautious enough around highways.

“Pedestrians need to be aware that you can’t just cross a four lane highway safely, or six lanes, or eight lanes depending on where you are. You just can’t do that, you can’t be on the side of the road,” said Rae.

The report is the collaboration of data collected by OPP across the province, comparing fatalities from 2011 to the previous year.

Deputy OPP Commissioner Larry Beechey said that the report indicates the lowest fatality rates in 80 years. He said that this is the result of the 2007 implementation of the provincial traffic safety program.

The program focuses on reducing fatal collisions through education of the four most dangerous driving trends. These include impaired driving, aggressive driving, and seatbelt use.

Snowmobile fatalities dropped the most, by 40 per cent. The lowest was in fatal motor vehicle collisions, which fell by 12.2 per cent. The amount of fatalities in those collisions fell by 13.1 per cent.

According to Rae, the OPP hopes to reduce these numbers even further.

“We’re always trying to reduce our fatal collisions, because a fatal collision not only effects that family, it affects numerous people. Including just when the highways closed and people are stuck in traffic for hours,” said Rae.

She said the fact that almost everyone has been in, or been affected by a collision drives the point home.