The Glengarry News

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Higher fatality rate

publisher Mar 16, 2021 - 9:23am

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.

There were 26 per cent fewer collisions in 2020, a total of 55,581 compared to 75,128 in 2019, but the fatality rate was 22 per cent higher when compared to 2019 collisions.

Last year, there were 285 fatal collisions resulting in 305 deaths.

In 2019, there were 304 fatal accidents, claiming 335 lives.

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 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.  

Last year's 23 off-road vehicle fatalities marked the highest number of deaths in 14 years. Eight of those who died were not wearing a helmet. Four 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. To date, three people have died after their snowmobiles broke through the ice or were driven into open water.