OPP vows huge Victoria Day weekend road blitz

The Ontario Provincial Police says it will use "all available resources" this weekend to crack down on dangerous behaviour on highways, waterways and trails.
Police in Ontario say they're stepping up their enforcement on highways, waterways and trails this weekend. (CBC)

The Ontario Provincial Police says its officers will be patrolling en masse this weekend on highways, waterways and trails to catch dangerous motorists and enforce safety laws.

The Victoria Day long weekend "is generally very busy in terms of highways and trails and waterways" because it kicks off the summer driving, camping and cottage season, said Sgt. Shelley Garr of the OPP's Northwest Regional headquarters in Thunder Bay.

That means a greater risk of accidents, Garr said, "just because more people are on the highways."

An OPP surveillance plane will take to the skies to assist patrols looking out for aggressive and speeding motorists. There will also be RIDE checks — random roadside spot checks for drunk driving.

The OPP said it will target impaired driving and boating, seatbelt compliance, aggressive driving and distracted driving.

"We focus not just on those four, but statistics indicate that those four driving behaviours often result in injuries and death on our highways. That's why they're a main focus," Garr said.

The provincial police force published data in March suggesting that distracted driving, such as texting on a cell phone while behind the wheel, is particularly perilous, causing more road deaths than speeding and drunk driving combined.

In January, the OPP vowed to heighten traffic enforcement in face of a doubling in the number of crash deaths on provincially patrolled highways.

With files from The Canadian Press