It’s been a deadly start to the New Year on Ontario roads. Ontario Provincial Police report a 271-percent increase in fatalities on the province’s highways.

“These collisions are all 100-percent preventable,” says OPP Sgt. Kerry Schmidt.

Sgt. Schmidt says between January 1st and 15th, 26 people died on Ontario highways; compare that to 7 deaths over the same period in 2017.

“I know in the first two weeks of January we’ve seen a lot of winter weather,” says Sgt. Schmidt who works on the OPP’s Highway Safety Division, “poor roads and poor weather conditions do not cause crashes. Poor drivers cause crashes.”

Out of the 26 fatalities, several had nothing to do with the harsh winter weather. Sgt. Schmidt says impaired driving, drugs and alcohol, aggressive driving and no seatbelts, were all factors.

“It’s completely unacceptable,” adds Sgt. Schmidt.

Sgt. Schmidt posted a poignant video on Twitter, in hopes of capturing the attention of drivers.

“We still have a lot of winter weather left,” says Sgt. Schmidt, “drivers need to realize that their actions and their driving have consequences.”