If you are out on roads, waterways and trails during the Canada Day week or weekend and get a thumbs up from the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), it’s because you supported their latest traffic safety campaign.
Until July 4, 2021, the OPP is promoting and enforcing laws around safety equipment. During that time, officers will be seen giving thumbs up to boaters, paddlers, off-roaders, motorcyclists and vehicle occupants they spot wearing lifejacket, personal floatation devices (PFD), helmets and seat belts.
Every year, lack, or improper use of safety equipment is linked to a significant number of deaths and serious injuries on OPP-patrolled roads, waterways and trails.
Only one of the 10 boaters and paddlers who have died so far in 2021 was wearing a lifejacket or PFD. The potential for a lifejacket/PFD to save the life of someone who falls overboard or whose vessel capsizes is enormous, yet only 15 per cent of boaters/paddlers killed on OPP-patrolled waterways in the last 10 years were wearing them. Please always wear your lifejacket or PFD while out on the water.
Helmets are a critical piece of equipment for off-roaders and motorcyclists and are required by law. In 2020, half of the 23 off-roaders who died in collisions were not wearing a helmet. Motorcyclists should also wear protective clothing that is designed to reduce injuries in a collision and could save your life.
Motor vehicle drivers are reminded to ensure everyone in the vehicle is buckled up. This includes making sure children and toddlers are properly secured in a car/booster seat appropriate to their age, height and weight. So far in 2021, 20 fatalities have been linked to a lack of occupant restraint.
The OPP is urging all drivers and their passengers to make safety equipment an important part of every trip. Doing so will go a long way in keeping you and your family safe – and you might even get thumbs up from the OPP!