Number Of Fatal Crashes on Provincial Roads Increasing “Dramatically”

Distracted Driving Playing a Fatal Factor

Some stark numbers from the OPP today, as the provincial police sound the alarm over a dramatic increase in fatal crashes. Provincial police have released traffic data from 2017 saying the number of people who died on OPP patrolled roadways marks a five year high a 343, claiming the bulk of those were caused by distracted driving. Snowmobile fatalities were at an all time high last year at 29, while the number of pedestrians killed in collisions is down. From the OPP:

On the road:    

A total of 343 people died on OPP-patrolled roads last year, marking a five-year high. By comparison, there were 307 deaths in 2016.

The OPP responded to 68,794 collisions last year, 304 of which were fatal. By comparison, there were 67,450 crashes in 2016 with 275 of the incidents resulting in fatalities.

Three of the Big Four fatality causal factor categories were up last year over the previous year:

Big Four                           2017     2016

Inattentive-related:            83        64

Speed-related:                  75        54

Seat belt-related:              49        45

Alcohol/drug-related:        46        47


Forty eight (48) motorcyclists died last year, marking the highest number of motorcycle deaths in ten years. Also marking a ten-year high are the 27 motorcyclists who were driving properly (not at fault) at the time of the collision. There were 36 motorcycle deaths in 2016.

Transport trucks:

Ninety one (91) people died in 76 collisions that involved a commercial transport truck, marking another ten-year high. By comparison, 77 people died in 66 fatal transport truck collisions in 2016. The driver of the transport truck accounted for 15 of last year’s 91 fatalities, while 76 of the victims were in other vehicles involved (69), four (4) were pedestrians and three (3) were passengers in the transport truck.


Fewer pedestrian were killed last year with 27 deaths, compared to 39 deaths in 2016.


Snowmobile fatalities reached an all-time record high in 2017, with 29 deaths.   Excessive speed, loss of control and driver inattention led the list of primary causes. There were 16 snowmobile deaths in 2016.


Marine (boating) fatalities reached an eight-year high with 31 people dying last year, compared to 23 deaths in 2016. With falling overboard being the lead contributing factor both years, the outcome could have been different for the 42 victims who were found not (or not properly) wearing a personal floatation device over the two-year period.


A total of 22 people died in off-road vehicle incidents last year which is the same number of deaths as in 2016. Approximately half of those who died over the two-year period were found not wearing a helmet.

“The OPP is saddened and disappointed to see 2017 mark one of the worst years in recent history for fatalities on and off the road. As is the case every year, the majority of these deaths were preventable and attributed to poor driving behaviours. Until all drivers respect and observe road, off-road and marine laws that are designed to keep us all safe, these tragic deaths will continue”.

– Commissioner J.V.N. (Vince) HAWKES, Ontario Provincial Police