OPP begin week-long blitz to curb distracted driving

by Truck News

TORONTO, Ont. – The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) are once again heading out in their Class 8 truck to try to catch distracted drivers across the province.

OPP Superintendent Tony Cristilli said the police service would use every tool available to it to run a week-long blitz to help bring awareness to distracted driving.

Highway Safety Division (HSD) Staff Sgt. Kerry Schmidt posted a video to his Twitter showing the white OPP tractor ready to go out on the road moments before a Monday press conference in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) announcing the campaign.

The OPP has two of the Class 8 tractors. Earlier this year they were unveiled as an additional tool for patrolling highways in the GTA. When they aren’t being used for enforcement, the trucks are normally used to haul police cars between divisions.

Schmidt has said in the past that using the Class 8 trucks as patrol vehicles gives officers the advantage of height, allowing them to see into the cabs of other trucks, as well as giving them a bird’s eye view on unsuspecting drivers in passenger vehicles.

While other recent blitzes have focused on commercial motor vehicles, the current enforcement initiative is not targeting any specific kind of driver, but all road users, Cristilli said.

Police will not just be looking for cell phone users behind the wheel, but for any activity, such as eating or reading, that takes a driver’s focus off the road.

The penalty for being caught driving while distracted is a $490 fine, and three demerit points for a first offence.

“In 2017, the Ontario provincial police investigated 83 motor vehicle deaths in which inattentiveness was an underlying factor,” said Cristilli. “Since 2009 – the year when Ontario’s distracted driving laws took effect – 692 people have died at the hands of inattentive drivers. Distracted driving is a danger to all road users.”

Increasing regular blitzes focusing on distracted driving are one of the methods the OPP is using in its attempt to raise awareness about the issue and bring the number of collisions caused by inattentiveness too zero.

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  • i will aggree that phones are distracting but if eating a sandwitch is distracting then so must be smoking,chewing gum,blowing your nose,tuning the radio and so on. as a professional driver and owner operator for 40 plus years with no accidents because i may eat while driving, personally i feel the law is going overboard.if a little task as eating a sandwitch while driving takes away from your concentration , then you have no right to have a drivers licence period…

  • do you think someone is going to eat or talk on phone when there is a truck beside them with OPP on the door ?

  • I guess its okay for drivers to text for 51 weeks of the year and only watch for the OPP for one week.
    Any driver with a CB will know where the OPP is.

  • Trucks cause accidents, my new truck has radar on it for the front I have people passing me and pulling in with as little as 30 feet in front of me then slow down clamp down on these people also.

  • It is an excellent initiative.
    The trucks should not be identified.
    They should also evaluate the conformity of the vehicles next to them and the drivers.

  • I would say depends what one is eating and doing..
    Eating spaghetti not good. A chocolate bar ok. Pets sitting on drivers lap not good. Pets in the back seat ok. Person drinking hot beverage not ok. Person drinking lukewarm or cold beverage ok. People need to be responsible. Laws are made because of stupidity. I could go on and on but I won’t.

  • So let me get this straight, we are eating a sandwich and are classified as distracted driver yet the officer that is looking down out of his/her side window is not, how is it ok for them to be doing an unsafe act to stop one? And don’t use the BS they are trained to do it safely, or maybe that’s the direction they should go, train the public (JK). If the price tag for a fine was $50.00 no points would they still be doing it? No of course not it would not be worth their time. There are accidents every single day, fines won’t stop it, do people stop speeding? No and police and governments don’t want you too, it’s income. Just another way of lining their pockets. One step closer to a police state. I could go on but what’s the point nothing will ever change, well it has hasn’t in the past 100 years.

  • Stupid decision…..a distracted officer ll be looking for distracted drivers.

    Waste of taxpayes money to enjoy adventurous ride on brand new truck.you could have rented those….but why..you are not less than our politicians.