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Teen driver safety is so very important. As Ottawa injury lawyers, we meet with families regularly who have lost a teen in an accident. Sadly, teen drivers are the most at risk drivers in our country. Inexperience, coupled with immaturity, can result in not knowing how to react or even risk taking behaviours like speeding, distracted driving, drug and alcohol use and not wearing a seatbelt. All of these behaviours can lead to an increased accident rate among teens. The Ontario Provincial Police report that teenagers are involved in three times as many fatal crashes as all other drivers.
National Teen Driver Safety Week aims to get the word out about safe driving to parents and teens encouraging them to start talking about the dangers. Also parents need to lead by example. Specifically, parents should talk to their teens about what is known as the “5 to Drive” or the five most common teen safety driving issues.
Speeding Drugs or alcohol
Driving and riding without a seatbelt
Using a cell phone or
Texting while driving
Talk to your teens about accidents and how to stay safe
During National Teen Driver Safety Week, our Ottawa injury lawyers urge you to take the opportunity to talk with teenagers about these issues and remind them to take a stand for safe driving even when not behind the wheel. That means speaking out if you are in a car with someone who is texting while driving, making sure not to distract the driver and calling home for a ride home if another teen driver is unsafe.
This year it is particularly important to talk to teens about distracted driving as the incidents of distraction are clearly on the rise. Approximately 16 percent of all distracted driving crashes involving drivers younger than 20*.
Road safety is everyone’s responsibility. Let us all do our part to ensure that all teen drivers . Our Ottawa injury lawyers want you to #GETHOMESAFE.
*Ontario Provincial Police
We have all heard and read the distributing statistics on the dangers of distracted driving and our Ottawa injury lawyers want to remind you of some of the most common causes of distracted driving. Last month, the Ontario Provincial Police reported that distracted driving is now responsible for twice as many deaths as impaired driving. This year, they have investigated 38 on-road death accidents involving distracted driving – almost twice as many as those caused by impaired drivers, making distracted driving accidents the number one killer on our roads. Since 2009, it has been blamed for more than 600 accidents resulting in deaths on OPP-patrolled roads.
Accidents and Distracted Driving
There are several ways a person can be considered distracted while driving. Drivers are distracted when they have their eyes off the road, mind off the road, or hands off the steering wheel. Using a cell phone, especially to send a text message, does all three of these at once which is one of the reasons why it is so dangerous. All 10 provinces have adopted laws to stop texting while driving, with fines ranging from $80 to $1,200 and five demerit points (*CAA). Think you won’t get caught because you have your phone in your lap? Gatineau police officers are now riding buses this month as part of a road safety blitz targeting drivers who are texting or on social media.
Social Media and Accidents
Social media use on smartphones has also become a serious concern with apps like Instagram, Facebook, or Snapchat. While these are obviously extremely dangerous distractions, others are less obvious. Texting, eating or drinking, grooming, using a GPS and adjusting the radio are now all considered forms of distracted driving. We all have a responsibility to keep ourselves, our passengers and other drivers safe on the road. Be aware of distracted driving, don’t be a passenger in a car where the driver is distracted and don’t be tempted to take your mind off the road, your hands off the wheel or your eyes off the road.
Drive safely Ottawa !
Seatbelt accidents are no joke. Believe it or not, there was a time when seatbelts and child car seats were not mandatory in Ontario. The seatbelt was invented in 1959, but mandatory seatbelt use did not become law in Ontario until 1976. Since then, thousands of lives have been saved and today more than 92 per cent of all people wear a seatbelt in Ontario. ( www.allontario.ca)
Wearing a seatbelt is one of the most important ways for drivers and passengers to protect themselves. In fact, the chances of surviving a an accident increase dramatically when a seatbelt is worn properly. In case of an accident, seatbelts reduce the risk of passengers striking the interior of the vehicle, colliding with other passengers in the vehicle or being fully ejected from the vehicle. As Ottawa injury lawyers, we read accident reports daily and seatbelts accidents are an integral part of most reports. Click here to read some of our accident cases involving seatbelts accidents. A driver who is not wearing a seatbelt is more than 40 times more likely to be killed in a crash than one who is properly buckled up. (Ministry of Transportation)
Seatbelt accidents laws in Ontario
All Ontario motor vehicle drivers and passengers must wear a seatbelt that is properly adjusted and securely fastened. In addition, the driver of the car is also responsible to make sure that children who are not old enough to wear a seatbelt are secured in a child car seat or booster seat.
Air Bags and Accidents
Air bags do not take the place of a seatbelt. They won’t prevent the driver or passengers from being thrown out of the car. Airbags can injure children.
Seatbelt Accidents in Ontario: Fines and Demerit Points
Drivers can face a fine if he/she, or anyone in the vehicle under age 16, is not wearing a seatbelt or secured in a proper child seat. The safety of passengers is the driver’s responsibility. Fines range from $240 to $1,000 and drivers will receive two demerit points. A driver can also be fined for having a broken seatbelt, even if it is not being used when they are stopped by police.
Passengers who are 16 years old or older are responsible for buckling up themselves. If they appear to be at least 16 years old, police officers can ask you for their name, address and date of birth. Passengers over 16 will face a fine if they are not using or wearing a seatbelt properly.
Seatbelt Accidents and the Back Seat
While they’re not required to sit in the back seat, research has shown that children under age 13 are safest in the back seat away from active airbags. However, there is an exception. If the vehicle does not have back seat, children can sit in the front seat only if there is no active airbag or the air bag can be switched off.
Seatbelt Accidents Safety Do’s and Don’ts
- wear your seatbelt so that it crosses your chest and lower hips. These areas of the body are better able to resist the force of a crash.
- make sure you have one working seatbelt for every person in your vehicle.
- wear any part of your seatbelt twisted. A twisted seatbelt won’t spread the force of a crash across your body to protect you properly.
- put the shoulder strap under your arm or behind your back.
Our Ottawa injury lawyers wish you safe travels and don’t forget to buckle up !
Now that school is in session and Ottawa area students are settled on campus, let’s talk about campus safety. Students are busy with their studies and engaging in all of the fun and excitement of college life: club and pubs, sports and socializing. With so many new routines, new surroundings and new friends, student safety is always a concern for students and staff alike.
Every year, accidents and injuries do occur on our college campuses even with an abundance of safety measures in place. All three Ottawa post-secondary institutions maintain strong campus safety policies and programs as well as strong communication campaigns. All three also employ security staff to ensure student welfare.
Any student’s best defense is always to make safety a top priority and prepare to reduce the risk.
Campus Safety Tips for Ottawa Area Students
Use the Buddy System
As often as possible, when walking at night, bring a buddy. There’s power in numbers, and you are less likely to become a target when walking pairs or a group. Walking with someone will also reduce the chances of being involved in a pedestrian accident. Need a buddy? Visit the website of your school and learn about the foot patrol program. Here are a few important numbers you may need:
University of Ottawa: Non-emergency: 613-562-5499 or Emergency: 613-562-5411 (or Emergency button on your Mitel telephone)
Carleton University : On-Campus Medical 613-520-4444
Algonquin College: Dial 5000 from any campus phone or Security Services 613-727-4723 X 5000 emergencies
Be Aware of Your Surroundings
The best way to avoid accident or injury is to remain alert and aware. Distracted people make easy targets. Easy targets walk while on their phones and don’t pay attention to their surroundings. When walking on campus, look around for suspicious people and activities at all times. Remain alert.
Take A Safe Route
Avoid walking at night if possible. If you have to walk at night, take a well-lit path. Look for street lamps and other lit paths and stay where there are a lot of people. Be aware of the new pedestrian crosswalk rules.
Don’t Give Out Personal Information
Never give out your room number or exact address to strangers, people you have just met, or friends you have met online. Have them meet you somewhere neutral first to see if they are trustworthy before inviting them to your home or your room. Also, be mindful of what you share on social media.
Let Your Close Friends Know Where You Are Going
While it is risky to reveal your whereabouts or plans on social media, sharing this information with your roommates or close friends is a good safety measure. Let someone know where you are going, who you are going to meet and when you are likely to be back.
Prevent Crime While Driving
When driving on or near campus, stay on well-traveled roadways and always keep your doors locked. Before entering your vehicle, make sure no one is lying in the backseat or on the floor. If someone is following your car, drive to the nearest police station.
Report Suspicious Activity
If you see someone acting suspiciously, report it to campus police immediately. If you ever feel unsafe or threatened, find a safe well-lit place and call the police.
Watch Your Food and Drink
Never accept food or drink from people that you don’t know. Always keep your eyes on your food or drink during a party or date. Never leave your drink unattended at a bar or at a party.
Always Carry Your Cell Phone
Your phone is an asset to your safety. Use it to keep emergency contact numbers and install an alarm app.
We hope that all students enjoy a rewarding school year. Stay safe, be aware and make safety a priority.