OPP officers investigate a fatal incident on Walker Rd. in Oldcastle, February 9, 2015. (Photo by Mike Vlasveld)

Half Of Drunk Driving Fatalities Are Innocent Bystanders

The Ontario Provincial Police are again pounding home the message that many of the victims of impaired driving are merely in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The OPP says over the past 15 years, almost half of all people killed in impaired driving crashes were innocent victims, and the OPP say those numbers are going up.  Police say 2017 is the fourth year in a row more innocent victims than impaired drivers died in those collisions. Across the province, 19 of the 37 people who died were not the impaired driver.

In the West Region, 25% of all crashes related to impaired driving resulted in fatalities. That accounts for the deaths of 48 people since 2002.

The OPP does not collect data for municipalities that have their own police services, but residents in Windsor were given a stark reminder of the dangers last week. Cindy Harrison died in hospital after a two-vehicle crash on McHugh St. one week ago. She was a passenger in a vehicle, driven by a 46-year-old man who now faces charges including impaired driving causing death. The man and two other people were also injured in the crash.

“The staggering number of innocent people who die in alcohol or drug-related collisions tells us that minding our own business about impaired drivers is the wrong thing to do,” says OPP Deputy Commissioner Brad Blair. “As difficult as it may be to report someone you know to police, living with the decision not to is far worse if that driver goes on to kill someone or themselves in a crash.”