OPP: Collisions down, traffic fatalities up in 2020

Sharp increase in number of motorcyclists who were killed

There were more fatalities in 2020 compared to the previous year on roads patrolled by the Ontario Provincial Police despite fewer collisions.

Stats released on Monday show there were 26 per cent fewer collisions last year, but the death toll was 22 per cent higher when compared to 2019 collisions.

     2019                                                                       2020                 

Fatal Road Collisions: 304                         Fatal Road Collisions: 285

Fatalities: 335                                              Fatalities: 305

Total # Collisions: 75,128                          Total # Collisions: 55,581

Police said 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.

Provincial police reported a sharp increase in the number of motorcyclists who were killed, with 42 deaths compared to 27 in 2019. Failing to yield the right-of-way and speed were leading factors. In 37 of the incidents, no other vehicles were involved. OPP said this is a reminder that motorcyclists are vulnerable road users who cannot afford to take any unnecessary risks.

Last year was not smooth sailing on the water with 32 people killed in boating accidents, a 12-year high, and almost double the number over 2019.

The number of fatalities that involved off-road vehicles was the largest in 14 years, with 23 deaths last year. Eight of those who died were not wearing a helmet, and four of the riders who were wearing a helmet had the chin strap unfastened. One-third of the deaths were linked to alcohol and drugs.

So far this season, the OPP has responded to 15 snowmobile fatalities compared to 13 during the 2019/2020 season. Half of the fatalities were attributed to driving too fast for the conditions. To date, three people have died after their snowmobiles broke through ice or were driven into open water.