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Increase in Ontario traffic fatalities blamed on distractions

Based on preliminary Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) data, Ontario traffic fatalities increased in 2016 compared to the year before. As the Sudbury Star reports, there were 276 fatal motor vehicle accidents in the province last year, up slightly from the 262 fatal accidents that happened in 2015. Off-road, marine, and pedestrian fatalities were also up significantly. The OPP says that distracted driving, speed, impairment, and not wearing a seatbelt were the four main factors behind most fatal accidents last year, with a rise in distracted driving being especially worrying.

Ontario 2016 traffic fatalities

In 2016, there were 276 fatal accidents on OPP-patrolled roads resulting in 309 deaths. That's up from the 262 fatal accidents that caused 301 deaths the year before. About 75 percent of those deaths were attributed to distracted driving, speeding, impaired driving, and/or not wearing a seatbelt. Those four factors are collectively known as The Big Four since they are routinely implicated in so many fatal accidents. In 2015, they were a factor in 77 percent of traffic fatalities.

Off the road the news was similarly grim. Off-road vehicle deaths increased from 14 in 2015 to 23 in 2016, while snowmobile deaths went up from 13 to 16. Boating fatalities also increased from 18 in 2015 to 21 last year. Meanwhile, pedestrian deaths on OPP-patrolled roads soared by a third from 25 in 2015 to 38 in 2016.

Distracted driving increasing

As CTV News reports, one of the main culprits for the increase in traffic fatalities is distracted driving. Distracted driving fatalities were on pace to double the number of impaired driving fatalities in the province as of September of last year. That would make 2016 the first year that distracted driving deaths were that high since distracted driving laws were implemented in 2009.

In fact, driving while distracted is very similar to driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs. Drivers who are distracted often swerve out of their lanes and fail to respond in a timely manner to changing traffic conditions. While cellphones are the main factor behind the rise in distracted driving, other behaviours, such as changing the radio, talking to passengers, and personal grooming, can also cause drivers to take their eyes off the road.

Distracted driving was first banned in Ontario in 2009, with fines recently increasing. Now, a distracted driving citation can result in fines between $490 and $1,000 along with three demerit points.

Motor vehicle accidents

Anybody who has been hurt in an accident should get in touch with a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. An accident can be emotionally, physically, and financially draining. A lawyer can help clients pursue compensation that they may be entitled to and which can ease some of the burden caused by an accident.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a motor vehicle accident, contact Smitiuch Injury Law for a free consultation.

In The News

  • October 14, 2016 - Read the Hamilton Spectator story to find out how regulation changes are affecting an Ontario family
  • October 3, 2016 - The Fall 2016 issue of our newsletter, Disclosure, is now available.
  • October 11, 2016 - Michael Smitiuch discusses the impact of recent auto insurance changes - CBC Toronto Metro Morning and Ontario Morning
  • October 3, 2016 - The Fall 2016 issue of our newsletter, Disclosure, is now available.
  • September 28, 2016 - Peter Cho & Michael Smitiuch give talk about the Stilwell v. Corning case
  • September 26, 2016 - New Associate Lawyer joins the firm - Mr. Matthew Nieuwland
  • September 22, 2016 - Michael Smitiuch Co-Chairs & Speaks at The Law Society of Upper Canada Program
  • August 2, 2016 - Two New Articling Students Join Smitiuch Injury Law
  • July 26, 2016 - We are growing again! We are looking to hire a full time Law Clerk in our Tort department.
  • June 30, 2016 - Read Mike Smitiuch's article this week in Lawyers Weekly on increased use of video evidence in civil cases
  • June 29, 2016 - 2016 Smitiuch Injury Law Scholarship Recipients Announced - St. John's College & Assumption College, Brantford
  • May 26, 2016 - Michael Smitiuch discusses the changes to Ontario's auto insurance on CBC Radio Ontario Morning
  • January 4, 2016 - Articling Student Joins Smitiuch Injury Law
  • December 21, 2015 - 49th Annual CP24 CHUM Christmas Wish 2015 Toy Donations
  • December 10, 2015 - Michael Smitiuch selected as a Legal Expert by Global Law Experts
  • November 20, 2015 - Smitiuch Injury Law staff volunteers at The Toronto Lawyers Feed the Hungry Program
  • November 18, 2015 - Bola Damages Suit Against Toronto Police
  • November 18, 2015 - Family Files $5 Million Damages Suit Against Police
  • October 27, 2015 - The Fall 2015, issue of the Smitiuch Injury Law newsletter, Disclosure, is now available.
  • September 16, 2015 - We are pleased to announce the opening of an office in Hamilton!
  • September 15, 2015 - Should Ontario's legal regulator ban lawyer advertising?
  • September 9, 2015 - Chris Jackson awarded OTLA's 2015 Outstanding Law Clerk Award
  • August 13, 2015 - Family Whose Son Died in Muzik Club Shooting Mourns Loss and Looks For Answers
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