In some respects, Canadian roads have never been safer. Motor vehicle fatalities per 100,000 people and per billion kilometres travelled reached all-time lows in 2017, the last year for which Transport Canada provides data. Fatalities dropped from 1,895 in 2016 to 1,841, a 2.8 per cent decrease, and serious injuries fell from 10,760 in 2016 to 9,960, a 7.4 per cent decrease.
And yet, despite positive trends, any personal injury lawyer will tell you that road safety remains a major concern in our country. Too many motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians continue to die or suffer catastrophic injuries in accidents on Canadian roads, accidents which are overwhelmingly caused by human error.
Here are a few of the main causes of motor vehicle accidents in Canada:
Drunk driving rates have consistently fallen over the past several decades in Canada, but impaired driving remains a serious safety risk. Even as anti-impaired driving laws become harsher and stigma around impaired driving grows, drugs and alcohol remain a common cause of serious accidents. As every personal injury lawyer knows, marijuana legalization has complicated this already fraught subject.
Distracted driving today shares many characteristics with drunk driving several years ago: it is pervasive, extremely dangerous, and rarely taken seriously enough. Though law enforcement agencies and different levels of government have recently launched awareness campaigns addressing smartphone use behind the wheel, distracted driving is too often thought of as a technology problem. In reality, distraction can come in many forms, including passengers in the vehicle, navigation and entertainment systems, and scenery. What’s important is to remain focused on the road at all times.
Aggressive and Dangerous Driving
Speeding, the most common form of dangerous driving, is involved in roughly 27 per cent of fatal crashes and 19 per cent of crashes causing serious injuries. Speed kills, which is why road safety programs like Vision Zero support enacting blanket speed limits in downtown cores.
Other forms of dangerous or aggressive driving include running red lights or ignoring traffic signs; tailgating; weaving in and out of traffic; and disregarding crosswalks.
We’ve all been there: you’re driving home from a long day at the office; it’s cold and dark outside but warm in your vehicle; talk radio drones through the sound system; suddenly, you find yourself struggling to keep your eyes open. Driver fatigue is one of the most common causes of serious accidents on Canadian roads. Tired drivers are more likely to drift between lanes, fluctuate their speeds, and be irritable towards fellow motorists. Much like impaired drivers, fatigued drivers have slower response times and worse judgement than their sober, alert counterparts. If you find yourself nodding off, find a safe place to pull off the road and take a quick nap.
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer
If you or someone you know has been injured in a car accident, contact Neinstein Personal Injury Lawyers today to learn how we can help. Our experienced team can help you access compensation to fund your recovery.