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OPP enforcing road safety for Canada Road Safety Week

By Tyson Leonard

The OPP will be out on the roads this weekend to enforce the rules of the road during Canada Road Safety Week.

“Our goal is to see every Ontario citizen survive the weekend safely,” said Dave Rektor, a media relations officer with the OPP.

Some of the road safety issues the campaign targets are aggressive driving, impaired driving, distracted driving and not wearing a seatbelt.

Officers will be along the highways with laser radar and up in the air in helicopters, said Rektor.

Canada Road Safety Week “focuses on increasing public compliance with safe driving through enforcement action,” according to a news release issued by the OPP.

Canada Road Safety Week has always been held over the Victoria Day weekend.

“Traditionally the Victoria Day weekend does yield some fatalities. Last year was no exception, with four dying on provincial roadways,” said Rektor.

The goal of the program is to make Canada’s roads the safest in the world.

Transport Canada’s website says in 2008 Canada was ranked 10th in fatalities per billion vehicle kilometers traveled, compared to the other 30 member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Ontario’s roads are some of the safest in North America, said Bob Nichols, the Senior Media Liaison Officer at the Ontario Ministry of Transportation.

In 2008, the latest year the MTO has traffic information for, Ontario’s traffic fatality rate of 0.70 per 10,000 licensed drivers was the lowest ever recorded in Ontario, and the lowest in North America, said Nichols.

Rektor said the trend is continuing.

“In general we have seen a reduction in fatalities on the roads,” said Rektor.

Lonne Foeller of the OPP said being unsafe on the roads could hurt your wallet too.

“Any fine you get your insurance company has the right to view those fines and it can increase your insurance by quite a lot,” said Foeller.

The campaign started May 14 and continues through the Victoria Day long weekend to end on May 21. Canada Road Safety Week is sponsored by Transport Canada and supported by the OPP.