NORTH BAY -- On National Day of Remembrance for Road Crash Victims Wednesday, a retired Ontario Provincial Police officer Mark Andrews says he’s witnessed too many avoidable fatal car crashes due to distracted driving.
"I’ve spent way too many hours standing in the middle of the highway at horrible crash scenes and then sitting down with families and explaining to them why someone is not coming home," said Andrews.
The retired officer has joined a non-profit traffic injury research foundation to help educate drivers, and
He’s given presentations across the country at forums and high schools.
"Distracted driving is continuing and has surpassed impaired driving as the number one cause of injury and death on our highways, and it needs to be fixed," said Andrews.
Andrews says he’s seen it all when it comes to distracted driving: motorists eating, curling their hair, putting on makeup, and in one case, a couple having sex while behind the wheel.
For a first-time offence, you could face a fine up to a $1,000, receive three demerit points, and a three-day license suspension.
According to provincial statistics, one person is injured from a distracted driving related crash every 30 minutes.
Karen Bowman is the program director for Drop It and Drive and is all too familiar with the consequences of distracted driving. Her daughter, who was 8-years-old at the time, was seriously injured in a crash in 2011.
"To this day, she’s 17 and still diagnosed with PTSD. She suffers from short-term memory loss. No one wants to look back at a choice they made for that split second distraction or longer distraction that will stop someone from getting home safely," said Bowman.
Insurance industry figures say distracted driving has doubled since 2000 and according to the Ministry of Transportation, you are 23 times more likely to get into a crash if are texting and driving.