Canadian police forces kick off national road safety initiative for Thanksgiving weekend

Toronto police cars

This Thanksgiving weekend, police forces across Canada will be partnering on a national traffic safety and enforcement initiative known as ‘Operation Impact.’

From October 6th to 9th, Canadian police officers will be on the lookout for distracted drivers, impaired drivers, those failing to use seat belts and speeding and/or aggressive driving.

“These four main behaviours continue to cost significant loss of life on our roads every year,” Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) said in a media release.

In Canada, tens of thousands of people are injured or killed every year as a result of various poor driving practices. In 2015, 1,858 people were killed in vehicle collisions, with 161, 902 more suffering injuries, according to Transport Canada.

Specifically, the Insurance Bureau of Canada cites a study that found 80 percent of collisions and 65 percent of near-collisions involved some form of driver inattention while behind the wheel, up to three seconds before the event. It’s important to note that distracted driving isn’t just limited to cellphone use — police say it includes any action that takes a driver’s attention away from the road, such as reading a map or eating food.

Meanwhile, MADD Canada says that an average of four people are killed every day in Canada due to impaired driving-related accidents. Further, the OPP reported five road fatalities and 5,800 speeding charges laid over the Victoria Day long weekend alone.

In related news, Saskatchewan police said they will be tackling distracted driving in October as part of a monthly road safety campaign.