Every year when winter comes around, it appears that Ontario commuters have to learn about the dangers posed by wet and slippery roads all over again. Any innocent victim of an auto, pedestrian or cycling accident may file a tort claim in an attempt to recover damages. All commuters, regardless of their modes of transport, must work together and consider each other to prevent injuries and fatalities.
Since cannabis use was legalized in Ontario and the rest of Canada, the way in which its use affects driving ability has been explored. However, authorities say that existing research covers only severe crash injuries and fatalities that occurred in car accidents in which cannabis use played a role. They say that the effects of THC, which is the psychoactive chemical that is present in cannabis, seldom proves to be present on its own in the blood of victims. In most cases alcohol is also present, showing that marijuana on its own may not be as dangerous as first assumed.
Anyone in Ontario can pursue a civil lawsuit against a person or entity that caused him or her injuries. Such a claim is known as a personal injury, or tort claim. It requires the victim, or plaintiff, to prove to the court that the defendant was negligent and at least partially at fault for causing the car accident or another incident that led to personal injury. Tort claims are typically filed in provincial court.
Road safety authorities in Ontario recently announced one of the New Year's resolutions for the province -- putting a stop to texting while driving. Distracted riving is reportedly the primary cause of fatal car accidents in Ontario. Law enforcement authorities intend to stop this trend by adopting an approach similar to the steps they took to significantly reduce drinking and driving fatalities in the province.
With the legalization of recreational use of cannabis in Ontario and the rest of Canada, lawmakers are extremely busy with modifying existing laws and drafting new laws to govern marijuana use. The authorities in charge of road safety are making haste with new legislation to control marijuana-impaired driving. Many rules are still evolving, but commercial truck drivers already face more stringent tests to prevent increased numbers of car accidents involving big rigs.
The fact that cannabis use is no longer against the law in Ontario does not remove the dangers that come along with its use by operators of motor vehicles. Safety authorities say positive drug tests exceed the number of positive alcohol tests in deceased victims of car accidents. Although no roadside test for drug impairment exists currently, Drug Recognition Experts and specially trained police officers can detect it -- with potentially dire consequences for the driver.
This time of the year is known to see countless numbers of drivers who are adversely affected by the winter weather and all the challenges it poses. In anticipation, the Canada Safety Council uses the first week of December -- National Safe Driving Week -- as an opportunity to remind drivers in Ontario and other provinces about the precautions they can take to avoid car accidents this winter. The first step might be to have vehicles serviced by having tune-ups and oil changes done before taking to the roads.
While most drivers in Ontario are responsible and law-abiding when they take to the roads, some fail to recognize the hazards dangerous driving pose to themselves and others. The consequences of car accidents could be life changing, and motorists might avoid collisions by looking out for potential crash risks. Knowing that fatigue, nighttime driving and inclement weather increase the chances of accidents is a good start.
For unknown reasons, many people in Ontario assume that drivers who are older than 65 years put their own lives, and the lives of others, on the line. A spokesperson in a managerial position at the Canadian Automobile Association says that is a myth. Crash data shows that young males have proven to present the biggest dangers on the road and they cause most car accidents.
It is time again to prepare for safe winter driving. Many car accidents during the winter months occur when drivers do not adjust their speed according to road and weather conditions. Proper planning that includes allowing extra time to reach a destination might prevent collisions. Carrying the necessary emergency supplies in the car and checking the weather forecast will also be smart.