COTTAGE COUNTRY, ON – Collisions and deaths resulting from them are up this year and police are pleading with the public to drive safer this weekend.

Ontario Provincial Police said in a release that Thanksgiving is one of the busiest few days for traffic volumes.

According to police, there have been 216 fatal collisions resulting in 239 deaths so far this year on Ontario roads.

“Sadly, many innocent people of all ages pay the price with their lives because of drivers who ignore their responsibility to share the road safely,” Deputy Commissioner Rose DiMarco said in the release. “Before you head out this Thanksgiving Long Weekend, as a driver, please remember that every motorist, passenger, pedestrian and cyclist have the right to be safe and that safe roads start with you. As a passenger, always remember to wear your seat belt.”

Officers added total collisions are up 360 this year compared to the same time last year, bringing the total to over 53,000.

Police said preventable deaths accounted for a significant number of total fatalities. Speeding was the biggest culprit, being attributed to 46 deaths and people not wearing a seatbelt was right behind at 44.

Distracted driving was in third at 42 deaths while crashes involving alcohol and drugs rounded out the top four with 33.

“As we celebrate this Thanksgiving with family and friends, expect heavier traffic on the roads over the long weekend,” Sylvia Jones, Solicitor General said. “Motorists are reminded to drive sober, stay focused and be patient to ensure everyone has a safe and happy holiday.”

Drivers accounted for 75 per cent of the total deaths so far this year with the majority of fatalities happening on Fridays. Saturday, Sunday and Monday were next in line respectively.