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Distracted driving to blame in 2 fatal crashes over Labour Day weekend: OPP

Distracted driving continues to be a huge concern for provincial police and they want it to become as socially unacceptable as drinking and driving.

Police said two of the four fatal crashes over the Labour Day long weekend can be blamed on driver distraction.

So far this year, 39 people have died because of distracted driving on OPP-patrolled roads.

At the end of the long weekend, the OPP laid more than 11,500 charges against people using hand-held devices behind the wheel.

Chief Supt. Chuck Cox of the OPP’s highway safety division said “distracted driving kills” and is calling on everyone to spread the word to family, friends, co-workers and school mates.

“People have the ability to help positively influence the behaviour change that is needed on the part of those drivers who still feel that they can safely drive while distracted,” Cox said.

Police are asking passengers who are being driven by someone who uses their hand-held device to ask them to stop the “dangerous behaviour.”

“Tell them that you do not feel safe, even if they erroneously try to reassure you that they are able to drive safely while distracted,” the OPP release said.

Over the long weekend, the OPP used unmarked vehicles to catch distracted drivers during its safety blitz.

Currently, fines for distracted driving range from $60 to $500, but a bill to increase distracted driving fines is expected to be re-introduced at Queen’s Park this fall.

If the new law is passed, distracted driving will go from $280 and no points, to a maximum $1,000 fine and three demerit points.