Drug-impaired driving among teens is a major concern. A ten-year trend shows one in four teens who died in a motor vehicle crash tested positive for cannabis. This week, (October 15-21) is National Teen Driver Safety Week , an observance to create positive behaviour changes and to reduce injury rates among teens.
This year, the annual campaign aims to create better awareness of drugged driving and will also focus on distracted, impaired and aggressive driving urging teens to #GetHomeSafe.
Young people make up just 12 per cent of licensed drivers, but account for about 20 per cent of all road-related injuries and deaths. Here are some key messages:
Drugs And Driving Don’t Mix
One out of four teen drivers who die in a motor vehicle crash between 2000 – 2010 tested positive for cannabis. Yet, many youth do not consider driving while impaired by drugs to be risky. Some even falsely believe that using cannabis makes them better drivers.
Texting Is Like Driving Blindfolded
Research shows that texting behind the wheel is equivalent to driving with your eyes closed for almost five seconds! Reduce the temptation of texting by keeping your phone out of reach. It could save your life.
Speak Up to Stop Distracted Driving!
Multitasking behind the wheel is dangerous – stay focused on the road and ask your passengers to help you do so. Young passengers have the power of prevention: A recent survey of Canadian drivers found 96 per cent of drivers would stop driving distracted, if a passenger asked them to. Simply asking can save your life and others’.
If You Drink, Don’t Drive
Over half of teen deaths from drunk driving occur on the weekend. Impaired driving can lead to a collision that may take your life, or someone else’s. Don’t risk your safety and that of others. Plan ahead for a designated driver, taxi or family member to give you a lift.
Mind Your Speed and Stay Alive
Speed is a factor in one third of teen driver deaths. Follow the speed limit and adjust your speed to match the conditions of the road. Running late is not a reason to risk your life.
Just one wrong choice can cause a devastating collision. Young drivers need to be aware of the risks that they face on the road. This week, take the time to speak to your teen driver about these staggering statistics and encourage them to #gethomesafe.
If your teen is injured in a motor vehicle accident. Please call us. Ottawa personal injury lawyer David Hollingsworth and his team focus solely on accidents, personal injury and insurance claims in Ontario. We know how you feel and we can help you. You are not alone.
New rules and penalties implemented by the Ontario government aim to crack down on careless and distracted driving in hopes of improving safety for some of the most at-risk road users like pedestrians and cyclists.
“Ontario is taking action to reduce the number of people killed by impaired, distracted and dangerous drivers. These measures will help keep some of our most vulnerable road users safe and help us drive home the message that dangerous, impaired and distracted driving is unacceptable, and will not be tolerated, “ Steven Del Duca, Ontario Minister of Transportation.
The new legislation, expected to be introduced this fall, is directly aimed at reducing accidents and injuries resulting from impaired, distracted driving and dangerous drivers including:
- A new offence for careless driving causing death or bodily harm with penalties that include fines, license suspension and imprisonment
- Tougher penalties for distracted driving, such as using a cellphone while operating a vehicle, including higher fines, more demerit points, and license suspensions
- Increased penalties for drivers who fail to yield for pedestrians and escalating fines for drivers who are convicted of multiple pedestrian-related offences within a five-year window
- Expanding the use of rear flashing blue lights for enforcement and emergency vehicles.
To combat the incidence of drivers illegally passing school buses, the province is looking into the use of cameras on buses to capture offending drivers. Camera evidence would be admitted to court without the need for a physical witness.
These new laws and measures would come in addition to measures introduced in September of this year. The Ontario Ministry of Transportation provided the following statistics in conjunction with the announcement.
- On average, one person is killed on Ontario’s roads every 17 hours. In 2014, pedestrians and cyclists made up approximately 25 per cent of Ontario’s road fatalities.
- While drunk driving remains in the top-five killers on Ontario’s roads, the province’s most recent roadside survey found that drivers who tested positive for drugs were more than twice the number who tested positive for alcohol.
- The proposed legislation builds on existing measures Ontario has introduced to improve road safety including tougher impaired, distracted and street racing laws.
- In May Ontario passed legislation to protect the most vulnerable such as pedestrians and cyclists, by giving municipalities more tools to address speeding. These tools include the ability to set reduced default speed limits and use automated speed-enforcement systems on roads with speed limits below 80 km/h that are designated as community safety zones or in school zones.
- In June 2015, Ontario passed legislation to toughen penalties for offences such as distracted driving.
- The Ministry of Transportation hosted a road safety symposium in June with municipalities and many road safety partners to discuss a broad range of road safety concerns that helped shape the government’s proposed actions to help to save lives on Ontario’s roads.
Our Ottawa personal injury lawyers focus on accidents, personal injury and insurance claims in Ontario. If you are involved in an accident, please call us for a free consultation. We know how you feel and we can help you.
Amusement parks and safety
We have all seen the horrific videos of innocent thrill seekers thrown from amusement park rides while spectators below watch in disbelief. Most recently, a young man at the Ohio State Fair fell to his death when a faulty part caused him to be ejected from the ride he was on. The disturbing video was seen across the internet causing many to question the safety of these carnival rides.
Canada and amusement park safety
How safe are Canada’s amusement park rides? Very safe according to the Technical Safety Standards Authority (TSSA). In fact, Canadian amusement park accidents are rarely the result of mechanical or operator error. Only four per cent of reported accidents in Canada can be attributed to the equipment or the operator. Most often these types of accidents are caused by the actual rider.
Riders who do not use the safety restraints, who stand up on the rides and who do not follow the instructions of the ride operator are more often the cause of the accident. According to a TSSA safety report, amusement ride injury occurrences have increased from 213 in 2012 to 556 in 2015, with the vast majority being minor in nature. Of the 556 injury occurrences in 2015, only 22 were reported as permanent.
Unlike the U.S., in Canada the TSSA enforces and monitors safety inspections. Last year, they reported over 2,000 inspections for rides. These inspections were carried out by certified experts. In addition, ride operators in Canada undergo mandatory training and certification. On site, operators are required to perform daily inspections of the equipment and rides they operate.
For the time being, enjoy the rides at Canada’s late summer fairs and amusement parks but follow these guidelines protect yourself from personal injury.
Follow all weight, height and age restrictions placed on individual rides. Always keep legs, arms and head inside the ride while it is in motion. Read all ride safety rules that are posted near the ride entrance.
Summer in Job Ottawa . Students Stay Safe on the Job.
Kids are out of school and many are looking for a summer job in Ottawa and off to work at summer jobs. For many this is the first time they will be formally employed. It is important to learn from the start to make workplace safety a priority. According to the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, in 2009, 35 Canadian workers aged 15 to 24 were fatally injured as a result of a workplace hazard.
No matter where kids find work this summer, they must take the time to know the health and safety rules and to understand the responsibilities of
employee and employer when it comes to avoiding accident and injury on the job. Before even starting to work on any job, every employee should understand that they have the right to refuse unsafe work,. They should know who to contact for health and safety concerns and they should be given basic health and safety training.
Every employer should should ensure a safe summer job in Ottawa work place :
• Ensure that the work site is safe
• Provide training
• Have a health and safety policy and make it accessible to all
• Attend to any reported issues of health and safety in the workplace
• Reporting serious incidents to WSIB
• Keep a first aid kit near every workstation
• Provide personal protective equipment for jobs that need it
The reasonability to maintain a safe workplace is also part of the employee’s
job. Every employee should:
• Knowing the health and safety rules and sticking to them
• Asking question when unsure of the method or equipment
• Reporting any workplace hazards
• Seeking out a supervisor or safety representative immediately when
Summer Job in Ottawa- Know your rights.
Summer jobs are a rite of passage for many young kids in the city, but never at the risk of personal safety. Avoid the risk. Learn the safety rules before you start the job. Be aware of your rights and obligations.
Graduation student in Ottawa
It’s graduation season. There will be ceremonies, house parties and a host of other celebrations honouring great accomplishments. There will also be drinking, partying, distracted driving and other risks and dangers that can turn a night of celebration into a tragedy. Let’s make this is a season to remember or all of the right reasons.
Teenagers are the most at-risk group of drivers on the road today especially when it comes to drinking and driving. When you factor in distracted driving, speeding, lack of seat belt use and extra passengers, graduation season becomes very risky. According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving Canada (MADD Canada).
• Young people have the highest rates of traffic death and injury per capita among
all age groups and the highest death rate per kilometer driven among all drivers
under 75 years of age. More 19-year-olds die or are seriously injured than any
other age group.
• Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among 16 to 25 year olds,
and alcohol and/or drugs are a factor in 55% of those crashes.
• 16-25 year olds constituted 13.6% of the population in 2010, but made up almost
33.4% of the impairment-related traffic deaths – MADD CANADA.
Graduation time? time to talk about safety
Before your graduate heads out this prom season, please take some time to talk openly about safety.
Drinking and driving is never an option. Peer pressure can sometimes be hard, especially at a time of celebration. Remind your teen that even one drink is not acceptable if they are planning to drive. Promise them that you will pick them up anytime of the night, no questions asked and give them a backup plan with an aunt, uncle or neighbour to call if they find themselves in a dangerous situation.
Graduation and distracted driving
Distracted driving has become an epidemic for teen drivers. In 2013, almost half of all of the people killed in distraction-affected crashes were teen agers – Canadian Automobile Association (CAA). By now, all kids have been exposed to the dangers of distracted driving. During grad season encourage your teen to leave the phone in the back seat of the car or in the glove box to avoid the temptation to call or text while on the road. If they use their phones for music or GPS, have them set their navigation or playlists before they drive off.
Driving while drowsy is most defiantly a form of impairment. In fact, driving while being awake for more than 18 hours, is similar to driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.05 per cent. Many teens are less aware of the dangers of drowsy driving. Late nights studying and celebrating can make your teen sleep deprived and they may not notice. Remind your teen of the danger and remind them that your top priority is that they get
Teen driving safety starts with you. As a parent, it is important to set a good driving example at all times and to have open conversations with your teen, especially during graduation and prom season.
It’s never a good time for a personal injury
Summertime is peak time for personal injuries in Canada with more than 30 per cent of all injuries occurring in the warmer months. * Half of those injuries happen between noon and 6:00 p.m. and the main cause of summer injuries comes from people falling, including falls into water (Statistics Canada). The best way to avoid any accident is attention and prevention.
Prevent a personal injury
In Ottawa, 55 per cent of cyclists report that they don’t always wear a helmet when they ride a bike. * On the water, up to 85 per cent of boating-related deaths could have been prevented by the wearing of a life-jacket or Personal Floatation Device.** It’s not hard to understand why we resist suiting up with protective equipment during the warmer months. Helmets, body gear and life jackets are not terribly comfortable to wear in the heat, but, as we know, they are our best defense against personal injury. No matter the sport, statics prove that helmets and life jackets save lives.
Pay attention and avoid personal injury
Canadian summers drive us to the cottages, lakes and pools to for swimming, boating and so many other water activities. On average, 525 people die each year in water-related incidents with children between the ages of 1 – 4 and young men aged 15 – 34 at the highest risk. ** Many of these accidents could have been prevented. Summer is a welcome time for recreation and get togethers with family and friends. Keeping tabs on small children and toddlers is crucial when they are around water of any kind, from a small backyard kiddie pool to a lake. Accidents happen fast and the best way to keep kids safe it to keep them close. It’s always a good idea for parents of small children to have water safety and first aid training.
While 15 – 34 year olds are mostly responsible for their own safety, 38 per cent of water related fatalities in people over 15 involved alcohol use. Clearly the two do not mix and caution should be taken to ensure that those who are drinking alcohol are in control of their actions and their surroundings.
The best way to prevent injury during the summer months is to always remain aware of the surroundings and to be keep a close eye on the people around you. Insist on use of life saving devices and protective gear all summer long to stay safe and accident free.
* Statistics Canada Community Health Survey
** Canadian Red Cross
Ignoring Auto Safety Recalls – A Growing Concern for Drivers
Over the past six years, auto safety recalls of passenger vehicles have increased by 74 per cent from 133 in 2010 to 232 in 2015*. That’s more than five million vehicles recalls. From airbags inflators to electronic gearshifts and ignition switches these safety issues have the potential to cause serious injuries and even fatalities.
Sadly, many of these auto safety recalls are being overlooked and today, it is an estimated one in six Canadian vehicles is on the road in need of repair and its owner has not responded to the notice. According to Carfax Canada, minivan and SUV owners are the worst for answering recalls and family-oriented vehicles are the most likely to have an unfixed recall.
The problem becomes even more complex given the fact that many of these cars are being sold as used and their new buyers are unaware of the preexisting problem. There is no law in Canada the requires a reseller to investigate or disclose recall information on a car.
Auto safety recalls occurs when a manufacturer violates a federal motor vehicle safety standard or has a defect that otherwise poses an unreasonable risk to safety. When this happens, I recall is sent out to existing owners of the affected vehicles. The onus is on the vehicle owner to follow through with the repair once notified.
There have been a number of big recalls recenlty including: * General Motors recalling 4.3 million vehicles for airbag defect * Toyota recalls 340,000 Prius hybrids over faulty brakes * Takata airbag recall biggest in history at 33.8 million vehicles
If you think that your car, or a used car that you are planning to buy could be under a recall warning, visit the Transport Canada website or visit your local dealership to get the details. Remember, safety recalls are effective for the life of the vehicle and there is no deadline.
Yes, homeowner liability is not to be taken for granted. It happens. Guests to your home sometimes do have accidents when visiting. The truth is, it is very common. From the moment a visitor enters your home, you are responsible for their well-being. If they do get hurt at your home or on your property, you must take personal liability. This is legally known as premises liability or occupiers’ liability.
What is a homeowner liability? The Ontario Occupiers’ Liability Act
A homeowner liability mainly deals with the Ontario Occupiers’ Liability Act, it’s your responsibility to make sure that anyone entering your property is safe. For example, if someone visits while your house is under renovation, you need to remove any hazards from the area they will be in or warn them about any dangers they may encounter.
If you are renting your living space, your landlord is responsible for providing warning about the hazards or dangers on the premises. However, if the injury comes from something that you could have prevented, you can still be responsible.
If someone breaks into your home, is trespassing or committing a crime, you are not responsible for their safety.
Injuries on Non-Residential Property
The concept of premises liability in Ontario also applies to non-residential places, like restaurants, amusement parks, schools, parking lots, and shopping centres .Lack of maintenance is often the most common cause for accidents on these properties.
When you pay admission to a park, water park or other recreational property or when you enter a premise to receive or purchase a service you are putting your own safety into the hands of the property owner and assuming that they’ve taken precautions for you.
Most business owners are required to install signs warning guests of any dangers or hazards they might encounter. The only time that liability does not apply is when you enter a recreational building or property that does not charge an entrance fee. Anyone who enters a free recreational property automatically assumes any risks during their time on that property.
Slip and Fall Injury Claims
The most common type of homeowner liability claims on someone else’s property are slip and fall injuries.
When you go to someone else’s home, they are legally required to warn you of any hazardous conditions that could impact your health or safety. This could be anything from a loose floorboard to unshoveled stairs. Failure to remove snow or ice properly could also be a major safety issue. If you slip and fall on ice because the property owner didn’t shovel their driveway, they could be found to be negligent.
Other Common Premises Liability Injury Claims
There are so many ways that you could hurt yourself on another’s property. Dim lighting, failure to clean up debris or spills or uneven walking spaces could all contribute to injuries. There are extra risks involved they have a pool.
What do I need to File a Personal Injury Claim for Premises Liability?
Like any personal injury claim in a homeowner liability claim, you need to keep as much evidence as you can. In a civil lawsuit for negligence, the defendant has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that they weren’t at fault.
You’re going to have to prove in court that the injury was not caused by your own recklessness or negligence. You could be held responsible for your own accident if it could not have been reasonably predicted or foreseen.
Photos are the best evidence. They will accurately show the area and the hazard or condition that caused your injury.
Keep all of your medical records, doctors’ notes and receipts Having a witness on your side who was there at the time of the incident will also help your case.
If you are injured in an accident on someone else’s property, seek legal advice. A good personal injury lawyer can help you to get the compensation you deserve to recover from the accident and return to a normal life.
Ottawa has seen a rash of house fire accidents this last week. The devastation from a fire accident is shocking and can leave lives in ruins. House fire accidents account for 30% of all fires in Canada, but 73% of fire-related deaths happen in the home. Cooking is the leading cause of house fires and injuries.
The absolute best defense against a house fire accident is to be prepared. A household fire safety plan is an absolute must. When fire starts, it spreads quickly and can become life-threatening within two minutes. You need a plan to get out fast.
Fire accident prevention
* Take the time to create a fire safety plan for you home.
* Choose an outside meeting place a safe distance in front of your home.
* Go outside to see if your street number is clearly visible from the road.
* If there are infants or elderly people in the home, assign someone to assist them in the event of an emergency.
* Make sure that all windows and doors are easy to open and not barred or painted shut.
* Once you’re out, stay out!
Recovering from a fire can be an emotional and financially draining process. It is amazing how quicly lives can be turned upside down. Often, the hardest part is knowing where to begin and who to contact.
Here is a quick reference.
* If you are insured, contact your insurance company for detailed instructions on protecting the property, conducting inventory and contacting fire damage restoration companies. If you are not insured, try contacting private organizations for aid and assistance.
* Check with the fire department to make sure your residence is safe to enter. Be watchful of any structural damage caused by the fire.
* The fire department should see that utilities are either safe to use or are disconnected before they leave the site.
* Conduct an inventory of damaged property and items. Do not throw away any damaged goods until after an inventory is made.
* Try to locate valuable documents and records.
* If you leave your home, contact the local police department to let them know the site will be unoccupied.
* Begin saving receipts for any money you spend related to fire loss. The receipts may be needed later by the insurance company and for verifying losses claimed on income tax.
* Notify your mortgage company of the fire.
*stats: Council of Canadian Fire Marshalls
Inviting a few friends over to celebrate the season or ring in the new year? Your social host liability and responsibilities go further than just providing the memorable music, drinks and delicious appetizers. As a social host, you are responsible for ensuring the safety of your guests. While you don’t have the same responsibilities as someone who runs a bar or restaurant, if you are having an event in your home or on your property where alcohol is served, you may have more legal responsibilities than you think.
As a social host, you should be aware of how much alcohol your guests are consuming, whether you provided it or they brought it along themselves. Guests who leave your home intoxicated could be involved in a motor vehicle accident injuring themselves or others. Guests who over indulge can also choke, slip and fall, assault another or injure themselves in a number of other ways. As a social host, you may be sued if you were aware that your guest was intoxicated and you did not prevent them from driving or becoming injured.
Prevention and planning ahead is always the best course of action when hosting a party where alcohol is involved. It is much easier to reason with your guests when they arrive at the party sober than when they are trying to leave the party intoxicated. Explain to your guests ahead of time that you have zero tolerance for drinking and driving and that they will either leave your party sober, in a taxi or not at all.
Here are some tips for safe social hosting:
* Limit guest list to those you know
* Provide filling food for guests and alternative non-alcoholic beverages
* Arrange transportation or overnight accommodations for those who should not drive home
* Stop serving alcohol well before the time the party is to end
* Do not serve guests who are visibly intoxicated
* Consider hiring a smart serve trained bar tender for your party
* Stay alert yourself, always remembering your responsibilities as a host
Social Host Liability. A few important numbers you may need in the Ottawa area:
The Ride-Dowload the App
WestWay Taxi – (613) 727-0101
Blue Line (613) 238-111
UBER -Dowload the App
DJs Taxi – (613) 829-9900