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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.

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  • April 3, 2017 - Gold Sponsorship - HHSC 24th Annual Conference on Neurobehavioural Rehabilitation in Acquired Brain Injury
  • March 8, 2017 - UPDATE - The Adam Bari Story - Changes to Accident Benefits entitlement adds to family’s struggle
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  • January 11, 2017 - What should you do if you are in a car accident? CBC News Toronto
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  • December 7, 2016 - Go to the Trial & Arbitration Awards page to read the Chiocchio v. City of Hamilton et al. summary
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