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Toronto Police respond to 250% increase in road fatalities

Leeanna McLean
Digital Reporter

Tuesday, January 16, 2018, 4:43 PM - Toronto Police have launched a pedestrian safety campaign as a result of a deadly start to 2018.

There have been seven traffic fatalities since Jan. 1, five of which involved pedestrians, according to a Toronto Police Service press release.

"This represents a 250% increase over 2017 fatalities year to date," the release highlights. "We all have a role to play in road safety. This includes prevention, education of community members, and targeted enforcement."

Pedestrian traffic fatalities represent about 60 per cent of overall traffic deaths annually.

Last year, a total of 36 pedestrians were killed, with mid-block crossing accounting for over 58 per cent of the deaths.

It appears seniors are among the most vulnerable as more than 48 per cent of all deaths in 2017 that involved pedestrians were those aged 65 and older, the release notes.

The campaign titled "Road Safety... It Starts With You," started Tuesday and will run until Monday, Jan. 22.

"This is a team effort to reduce death on our roads, and the team must include you, the public," said traffic services superintendent Scott Baptist. "The loss of life we have seen is intolerable. It is the simple things that we are not doing that are causing death and injury on our roads."

Baptist encourages residents to practice a few changes that will help combat these staggering numbers.

"By making a few changes, you will help save lives, maybe even your own. These changes include: stop crossing mid-block, stop assuming drivers can see you, stop driving a vehicle while inattentive or distracted and focus on the goal of arriving safely at your destination, regardless of the type of road-user you are."

This campaign is part of the city's Vision Zero Road Safety Plan.

According to the press release, Toronto Police will be focusing their attention on motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians who commit offences in the vicinity of pedestrian crossovers, crosswalks, intersections, school zones, and crossing areas frequented by seniors.

SEE BELOW: 'Watch out,' car slips down icy hill barely missing pedestrian

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