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Long weekend exodus underway

Several long weekend warriors were up and on the roads before dawn Friday to get a leg up on cottage country traffic. The Ontario Provincial Police were out as well, looking for the usual suspects and taking a hard line with offenders.

Fatalities on the roads are up significantly this year — by 40 per cent, OPP Sgt. Dave Woodford said. There have been 161 deaths so far compared to 113 at this time last year.

Last year, three people were killed on OPP-patrolled highways over the Canada Day weekend. Another person was killed on the water and an ATV rider also died.

“We’ve had far too many deaths this year so far,” Woodford said.

“We have to start cracking down a lot more. The warnings, we try and be reasonable out there, but it’s causing deaths on our roads. Distracted driving … you’re going up and down the highway and you’re seeing people on their phones, texting.”

OPP Commissioner Chris Lewis said every available cruiser, motorcycle and boat will be out this weekend, watching for impaired, aggressive and distracted drivers, as well as for people who aren’t wearing seatbelts.