Southwestern OPP lay thousands of charges in Road Safety Week enforcement blitz
Provincial police detachments across the OPP's West Region laid over 2,600 charges during the 2023 Canada Road Safety Week.
The annual campaign is a six-day effort focusing on enforcement and education from May 16 to May 22.
The campaign is driven by the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police and what OPP call the "big four" contributing factors to danger on the road: distracted driving, impaired driving, not wearing seat belts, and aggressive driving and speeding.
"These are the major factors that we know contribute to tragedy on our roads," said Derek Rogers, the regional media relations coordinator with West Region OPP.
The OPP's West Region includes 13 detachments between Windsor and Haldimand County, stretching north of Lambton Shores.
During the six-day campaign, officers with those 13 detachments laid:
1552 speeding charges (51 stunt or racing charges)
60 impaired driving charges (11 warn-range suspensions)
94 seatbelt charges
22 distracting driving charges
The numbers aren't completely indicative of behaviour on the roads, according to Rogers. The number of charges laid can often change based on how police resources are allocated in a given week, he said.
"It's fairly consistent with what we've seen in years past, so what we take away from it is that there are a lot of people doing things behind the wheel that are unsafe.".
The number of charges laid can also change from detachment to detachment based on the presence of major highways. Middlesex had the most charges with 420, and Essex was a close second with 412. The detachment with the fewest charges laid was Haldimand, which has no major highways, at 38.
While Road Safety Week is over, education efforts will continue as usual throughout the year. Rogers says he believes a real measure of success for the campaign would be to see fewer charges laid, and thanks the vast majority of drivers for doing their part in keeping provincial roads safe.
"Certainly, they weren't charged and you're not going to hear from them, but those are the folks that keep us all safe on the road," he said.
"There's no way to to figure out how many lives you may have saved or how many crashes you may have prevented through education. There's no metric to capture that kind of information. So certainly, you know the education component is important."