The international campaign against drunk driving has made a difference. True, drunk driving still exists and causes thousands of deaths each and every year, but through a broad and inclusive publicity campaign highlighting its life-changing dangers, drunk driving has become an unforgivable taboo. All Canadians, from school-aged children to legislators and car accident lawyers, are well aware of the risks of drunk driving.
As alcohol-impaired driving has slowly subsided in Canada, other forms of dangerous driving are taking its place. In the run-up to the official legalization of marijuana, voices from diverse corners of the political spectrum are articulating worries about a surge of pot-related accidents. Meanwhile, police departments across the country are struggling to cope with the widespread prevalence of distracted driving.
Distracted driving in Ontario
Ontario car accident lawyers are already well-aware of the dangers of distracted driving, and law enforcement officials are trying to spread that message as far as possible.
“Looking at that smartphone or looking at that text message or answering that email or looking at a video or news diverts your attention from the roadways and what’s important,” Windsor police Const. Andrew Drouillard told the CBC in 2014. “What’s important are all the things on the road.”
Drouillard made these comments after distracted driving charges jumped 35 per cent in Windsor between 2013 and 2014. Three years later, this trend shows no sign of slowing down: distracted driving was the leading cause of fatal collisions in Ontario in 2016, leading to the deaths of 65 people. Fifty-five people died in speed-related crashes and 45 died in crashes caused by drunk driving.
“Road deaths linked to distracted drivers will not let up unless every road users says ‘enough is enough’ and show a complete intolerance for what continues to be the most life-threatening driver behaviour on our roads,” said OPP Commissioner Vince Hawkes.
Windsor isn’t the only city in Ontario struggling to curb these sort of accidents: distracted driving contributed to almost half of all fatal collisions in Hamilton over the past five years, and distracted driving tickets jumped 37 per cent in Toronto from the first quarter of 2016 to the first quarter of 2017. It’s a trend car accident lawyers have been noticing for several years.
Law enforcement officials are looking at a number of solutions to the problem, including harsher distracted driving penalties and aggressive awareness and publicity campaigns. At Tecumseh Vista Academy outside of Windsor, police set-up a mock accident to illustrate the deadly risk of distracted driving. However, as with the fight against getting behind the wheel while drunk, it may be years before the public see results.
If you or a member of your family has been injured in a drunk or distracted driving accident, contact the car accident lawyers at Neinstein Personal Injury Lawyers today. Our team has represented injured Ontarians for decades and can help you access the compensation you need for a full and speedy recovery.