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Distracted driving in Ontario

This past week the Ontario Provincial Police waged the distracted driver campaign it engages in every year. According to the OPP, there are multiple activities that if engaged in while driving, could be considered distracted driving.  These include talking on the phone, texting, tending to kids in the back seat, self-grooming and eating, while operating a vehicle. Some studies have found that the danger associated with these activities is the same as driving while impaired by drugs or alcohol. The OPP indicates where road deaths are concerned in the province, over the course of the past few years, distracted driving is the number one reason. Speed-related crashes are second, followed by seat belt-related and alcohol/drug-related deaths. Despite the fact that approximately 20,000 distracted driving charges have been laid between 2013 and 2015, last year, a total of 69 people in Ontario were killed in road crashes in which distracted driving played a role. Drivers engaging in distracting behaviors while behind the wheel could cause accidents that hurt people in a variety of different types of situations including pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists and the occupants of other vehicles on the road. Depending on the circumstances, these individuals could suffer serious injuries that dramatically impact their lives. If you, a friend or a family member are victims of someone’s negligence and suffering from injuries and losses, contact us to speak to one of our lawyers to know your rights and what steps you should be taking in order to protect your rights for the future.

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Impaired driving is still a leading cause of car accidents

Incredibly, despite years of advertising campaigns and increased police intervention, impaired driving is still a major issue on the streets of Ontario. Statistics Canada recently posted facts and figures for 2015 regarding car accidents and impaired driving. They reveal that, although numbers have been in decline for many years, the number of drunk drivers is still significant. Additionally, the rate of drug-impaired drivers has been on the rise for several years.   In 2015, police across the country reported more than 72,000 impaired driving incidents. This number is high, but at a converted rate of 201 incidents per 100,000 citizens, it is the lowest figure since data was first collected in 1986. In contrast, drug-impaired driving incidents have more than doubled in number since 2009. There were 3,000 drug-related incidents in 2015. It may be of some comfort to know that Ontario had the lowest rate of drug-impaired accidents of all province and territories. Only 5 percent of Ontarians admitted to driving within an hour of having two or more drinks. However, 76 percent of them had done so more than once. Frustratingly, police did not charge 71 percent of alcohol-impaired drivers they apprehended under the Criminal Code. This may in part be due to an increased number of drivers charged under provincial law. For drug-impaired drivers, 59 percent were released without charges. Charge rates are projected to increase for drug impairment incidents as laws develop to more thoroughly address the issue. While the decreasing incidences of drunk driving is heartening, any number greater than zero indicates the possibility of car accidents occurring. If a person is injured in an accident with an impaired driver, he or she has the right to speak with a personal injury lawyer about what to do next. A skilled lawyer knows the right paths to follow when seeking appropriate compensation.

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Car accidents: Ontario man facing impaired driving charges

A serious car crash in the early morning of Feb. 26 sent three people to the hospital, and police believe the person responsible may have been drunk behind the wheel. Drunk driving car accidents are tragically common, and Ontario authorities take such charges very seriously. While formal charges have not yet been filed, officials say they are looking into all possible factors influencing the accident. According to the accident report, an eastbound vehicle travelling on Eglinton Avenue apparently smashed into another vehicle. The force of the impact pushed the second car down an embankment, where it struck a lamp post. Three people were reportedly injured, including one who paramedics say was in critical condition when they arrived. All three were taken to local trauma centers, where their conditions have not been reported. A 22-year-old driver, who police believe was responsible for the crash, was arrested shortly after police arrived. That individual is currently undergoing tests to determine his or her level of sobriety at the time of the accident. Police have also not ruled out speed and/or road conditions as possible factors in this accident. When the causes of car accidents are not immediately obvious, Ontario authorities are tireless in their investigative attempts to get to the bottom of them. In this case, if the driver is found to have been drunk at the wheel, he or she will face criminal charges, which may result in jail time or fines. Separately, the injured parties are entitled under provincial law to file personal injury suits against the driver, which can use police evidence to support their claims in civil court.

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