OPP calls distracted driving 'number one killer on roads'

03/03/2014 11:45 EST | Updated 05/03/2014 05:59 EDT
Provincial police are calling distracted driving the "number one killer on roads" with the release of new statistics that show more people in Ontario died in distracted driving-related crashes in 2013 than in any other type of crash.

The OPP said that 78 people died from distracted driving-related crashes on roads patrolled by the force in 2013, compared to 57 deaths in impaired driving-related crashes and 44 people who died in speed-related crashes in that same year. 

The new numbers were released Monday, a little more than two weeks ahead of a major jump in Ontario's distracted driving fine from $155 to $280 upon conviction, to take effect on March 18. 

"This behaviour needs to stop," OPP Deputy Commissioner Brad Blair said in a news release issued Monday. “Over and above every driver pledging to never text or talk on the phone, pledge to be a good passenger and speak up if the driver in your car is using his/her phone or engaged in other forms of distraction."