ONTARIO PROVINCIAL POLICE
OPP Safety Message from Constable Katrina Rubinstein-Gilbert, Media and Community Safety Officer for Bruce Peninsula OPP
There is nothing more exciting than driving up Highway 6 to the beautiful Bruce Peninsula for vacation. Officers from the Bruce Peninsula Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) play an important role for all seasonal and permanent residents to ensure their experiences are safe and memorable. Whether these moments occur on land or water, it is important to know your limits and the law. Here are a few helpful tips:
- The OPP have taken a combined approach when educating the public and utilizing focused enforcement campaigns when it comes to The Big Four: Speeding, Distracted Driving, Seatbelts and Impaired Driving.
- Speeding-The Bruce Peninsula OPP have a zero tolerance for excessive speed. In July and August of 2016, a total of 34 vehicles were seized and driver’s licenses suspended for Racing/Stunt driving along Highway 6. These vehicles were clocked at speeds exceeding 50 km/hr. or more over the posted 80 km/hr. zone. Along with the above vehicle seizure, 559 speeding tickets were issued to drivers, in the same time frame.
- Distracted Driving-refers to all forms of distracted or inattentive driving, such as adjusting a vehicle’s entertainment or GPS unit or stereo, eating and drinking, using a hand-held device, self-grooming or tending to children in the backseat etc. Drivers need to remember that the true danger to public safety lies in the distraction, not the device. As of mid-August, 2016 the OPP investigated 38 inattentive-related road deaths, which doubled the number of alcohol/drug-related road deaths (19). Not all of the above distractions would be chargeable when simply driving. To receive a ticket for distracted driving, you would be observed using a hand-held communication device such as a cell phone for phone calls, texting, email etc., or viewing a television or computer. The exception would be a global positioning system (GPS) attached to a dash or windshield. The cost of a ticket for driving with a display screen visible or using a hand-held device is $490, plus three demerit points.
- Seatbelts-when worn properly greatly increases your chances of surviving a motor vehicle collision. Under the Highway Traffic Act (HTA), any passenger travelling in a motor vehicle that is at least 16 years of age must occupy a seat with a seat belt; drivers are responsible for ensuring that passengers under 16 years of age are using the seat belt or an appropriate child car seat. The cost of a ticket is $240 and for drivers, plus two demerit points.
- Impaired driving-the Bruce Peninsula has charged drivers for operating a motor vehicle, for both impaired by alcohol and/or impaired by drug. A common myth is that we don’t have the ability to test for Drug use/consumption. Fact- the OPP has trained officers as Drug Recognition Experts (DRE) who are able to assess drivers for various drug consumption; from prescription to illegal drugs. The standards are the same for both impairments which will result in Drivers license suspensions, vehicles impounded and a court date. Driving is a privilege-Everyone deserves to be safe on Ontario Highways. Always have arrangements prepared when attending or hosting a gathering. Pack an overnight bag or arrange for a Designated Driver (D.D.), and when hosting be prepared for the unexpected. It just makes sense.
- Adult supervision is a must when it comes to children and water. Children are not always able to understand their full abilities, especially when it comes to water activities.
- Always assess water and weather conditions before partaking in any swimming and boating activities. If winds are high and water is wavy; there will most likely be an undertow and it is not safe for any age.
- OPP data continues to show that the overwhelming majority of victims who die in fatal boating incidents are not wearing a personal floatation device (PFD) or lifejacket. Most drownings happen when small boats capsize or someone falls overboard. PDF’s won’t work, if you don’t wear them; especially in the cold waters of Georgian Bay and Lake Huron.
- Let friends or family members know if you are heading out to swim or boat and how long you will be and where.
- Plan ahead. Ensure your vessel has been serviced and contains all of the mandatory equipment needed for regular operations and emergencies. Most of these embarrassing incidents are preventable, like filling up your gas tanks! Remember when things go wrong, you may not have a lot of time to react. Preparation is the key.
- Impaired Driving-When it comes to staying safe, the Bruce Peninsula OPP expects no less of boaters navigating our waterways than they do of motorist driving on roadways. The same rules apply and can have hefty results. When your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) exceeds 0.08 you are impaired. Your vessel/vehicle will be impounded for 7 days and your vehicle driver’s license suspended (for both water and land), with a court date set. If convicted, you can lose your driver’s license to operate a motor vehicle for a year. Boaters also face an immediate 3-day license suspension for having a BAC in the Warn Range of 0.05 to 0.08. These laws apply to anyone who is caught drinking and operating motorized and non-motorized vessels. Drinking is not permitted by anyone on board while the vessel is underway. You may consume alcohol ONLY if your boat is “anchored or docked” and the boat contains sleeping quarters, washrooms and cooking facilities.
Remember to have fun and play safe on the Bruce Peninsula! For further information, visit our website at www.opp.ca, as well as, check out: