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Accidents in Ontario on the rise
In a recent article written for the Advocate Daily, we commented on a report indicating a five-year high for fatalities for accidents in Ontario on OPP patrolled roads and waterways. We said that we were not surprised there were more accidents in Ontario given the growing number of vehicles on the road each year. That, combined with the increased use of electronics and hand-held devices in vehicles has created deadly distractions for drivers today.
Accidents in Ontario statistics
The report, produced by the OPP, highlighted some startling statistics from our roadways.
· 343 people died in collisions in 2017 compared to 307 in 2016, with the increase coming from driver inattention, speed and not wearing seatbelts
· 91 people died in collisions that involved a commercial transport truck in 2017
· 48 motorcyclists died in 2017
Driver Error is a Key Factor in Accidents in Ontario
A further look into the causes of these accidents show that driver error is a key factor. In addition to being distracted, drivers are failing to come to a complete stop and intersections, misjudging the speed of oncoming traffic when stopping or merging and they are driving recklessly.
Sometimes things are beyond the driver’s control such as road disrepair and weather conditions. And sometimes the condition of the vehicle can contribute to the accident. Faulty brakes, broken signal lights windows or mirrors all increase the likelihood of an accident. It is always the responsibility of the driver to ensure that the vehicle is in good repair, that it is serviced regularly and that does not have an outstanding recall.
To prevent another increase in our provincial accident statistics, there are a few things that you can do to keep our roadways safe.
Adopt a Three Second Rule
Experts suggest that you leave a three second gap between your vehicle and the one in front of you. To do this, pick a stationary landmark such as a tree or sign. When the car ahead of you is about to pass that landmark, start counting. If the car passes the landmark before you reach three, you need to slow down. You are following too closely. Reducing your speed will allow you enough space to slow down or stop quickly to avoid a hazard.
Use Your Full Attention When Driving
Operating a vehicle, of any kind, requires your full attention. If you need to read a map, eat, check on kids in the back or make a call, pull over when it’s safe.
Driving impaired or stoned can severely diminish your reaction time and your ability to notice hazards on the road. The same is true for driving tired. Avoid drugs and alcohol when driving and get enough rest.
In light of these recent reports, please drive carefully to protect you and your family. If you have been involved in a car accident in Ontario, you likely qualify for accident benefits to help you as you recover. If you have been involved in a car accident and have question about how to deal with insurance claims and benefits, please contact for a free consultation.
What do product liability and garage sales have in common. Springtime brings new beginnings. When the warm weather finally comes, we are all anxious to open the doors and windows and begin the spring cleaning. Out with the old and in with the new.
As the seasons change and the children grow, we are anxious to get rid of the stuff we no longer use. Old toys, car seats, strollers, playpens and bicycles and helmets are the first to go.
Beware, selling your things carries a responsibility. Did you know that you are legally responsible to ensure that anything you sell, new or used, meets the current Canadian regulatory requirements?
Canada Consumer Safety and Product Liability
Since the enactment of the Canada Consumer Safety Act, if you sell a product that is banned in Canada, defective and will cause injury to the user or part of a product recall you will be responsible for anyone getting hurt who uses the product you sold them.
Before you hold a yard sale or flock to Kijiji to sell off your clutter, take a few precautions. Find out if the item you are selling has been banned in Canada. You can find that information on the Health Canada website.
Some of Canada’s banned products include:
· baby walkers
· infant self-feeding devices
· lawn darts with elongated tips
· baby bottles that contain BPA
Health Canada Consumer Product Liability Safety Product Recall page
Make sure that the products have not been recalled by checking the Health Canada Consumer Product Safety Product Recall page.
If you need to find out if a product has been recalled, you can contact the retailer or manufacturer or check for recent recalls and safety alerts on the Health Canada webpage. Double check infant products like playpens, car seats or strollers, still have the manufacturers label including model and date of manufacture on it.
Don’t sell toys with loose parts like buttons or knobs that can easily become choking hazards.
Buyer Beware. When you buy products from flea markets yard sales or even online, you should always ask questions about he item you are considering. Ask the seller where they bought it, how long they have had it or has it every been repaired or recalled. If you are buying infant products look for the manufacturers tags and check online for recalls on the item.
If you, or a loved one, has been injured by a product, you can make a product liability claim against the manufacturer or seller of the unsafe product. Call us today for a free consultation. We will gladly answer all of your questions and concerns so that you have all of the facts about making a claim
Strengthening Motor Vehicle Safety for Canadians Act
The Ministry of Transportation has been given new safety powers to protect Canadians from vehicle defects. Early this month, the Strengthening Motor Vehicle Safety for Canadians Act was enacted to provide the Federal Transport Minister the power to order car companies to recall a vehicle to correct a defect, conduct tests and fix a new vehicle before it is sold. “Canadians may be surprised to know that prior [to the Act] only a manufacturer could issue a vehicle safety recall in Canada,” said Transport Minister Marc Garneau. “This legislation allows the government to proactively issue safety recalls in the interest of Canadians.”
What does the Strengthening Motor Vehicle Safety for Canadians Act do ?
In addition to imposing a recall, the Act gives Transport Canada the ability to perform more in-depth vehicle inspections for safety concerns and allows more flexibility to support new technologies like self-driving cars.
The Ministry has also been given the authority to impose fines of up to $200,000 to manufacturers for any violation of the Motor Vehicle Safety Act.
This is welcome news for the safety of Canadian drivers, especially in light of recent wide-reaching recalls that were issued for Takata airbags and, in 2016, Volkswagen emissions systems. In those cases, the existing regulator framework created a lag in respond to these safety risks.
Will the Strengthening Motor Vehicle Safety for Canadians Act make the government more accountable?
As Canada has slipped from number two in the world for auto assembly to number 10, we have become more and more dependent on foreign vehicles coming into the country. The Strengthening Motor Vehicle Safety for Canadians Act will give the government and the Ministry of Transportation more accountability to make decision and protect the safety of Canadian drivers and their families.
According to CBC News, one in every six cars on the road has a defect that has been the subject of a recall. Under the old law, vehicle owners relied on the manufacturer of to notify them of a recall.
Where there was an accident involving a vehicle with an open recall, the manufacturers of the vehicle can be held responsible. Unfortunately, ignoring a recall notice and continuing to drive a defective car could affect your ability to hold the manufacturer responsible. You can check if your car is the subject of an open recall through the Transport Canada website. Simply type in the make, model and year of your car to see any open recalls and the reasons for them.
If you have been injured in an accident involving a car that was recalled, you might be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Call us today for a free consultation on your case. We can help you review the facts and circumstances of your accident to determine if the car maker or others might be liable for causing you to be injured.
Ontario’s Fair Auto Insurance Plan aims to provide the best auto insurance plan.
We all want the best auto insurance. Ontario is taking action to make auto insurance more affordable for the province’s almost 10 million drivers.
Since 2013, in an attempt to provide the best auto insurance, the government has introduced a number of reforms that have resulted in lower auto insurance rates. These include a mandatory discount for drivers
who use winter tires, helping people resolve disputes about benefits faster and clarifying towing and storage costs after an accident. With these measures in place, the average auto insurance rates are now 6.6 per cent lower than they were in 2013, but still not the best auto insurance.
The government understands that rates are still too high for many people and in order to provide the best auto insurance, we are now moving forward with a package of significant reforms to the system.
The Fair Auto Insurance Plan is based on recommendations made by David Marshall, Ontario’s advisor on auto insurance. In a report released in April 2017, he urged transformative changes aimed at improving the care received by people hurt in collisions, reducing disputes around diagnosis and treatment — and promoting innovation, competition, as well as, other steps to improve consumer protection.
Following consultations on Mr. Marshall’s proposals, Ontario is now implementing the following initiatives:
Standard Treatment Plans
Making sure people with the most common collision injuries receive the best auto insurance that is timely, appropriate, and effective treatment by developing and implementing standard treatment plans that focus on recovery, monitoring health outcomes and increasing awareness of the best treatment practices, including an increased emphasis on making sure victims receive the care they need. The first of these standard treatment plans will be developed by spring 2018. This is expected to reduce costs in the system by changing the emphasis from cash payouts.
Independent Examination Centres
Creating independent examination centres to provide assessments of serious auto collision injuries. This will help to resolve and reduce diagnosis disputes, to reduce system costs and to curb the inefficiencies stemming from those disputes. Included in this plan will be the development of standards for assessors to ensure that the opinions of neutral assessments are respected. This will go a long way in ensuring the best auto insurance plan
Serious Fraud Office (SFO)
Establishing an integrated and dedicated office, with representatives from the Ontario Provincial Police and the Ministry of the Attorney General, that will support activities to combat auto insurance fraud in Ontario. Another great step to help ensure best auto insurance.
Risk Factor Review
Drivers pay different premiums based on a number of factors, including where they happen to live. The province has directed the Financial Services Commission of Ontario to review these factors to ensure that people in certain parts of the province are not subject to unfairly high rates. This review is expected to be completed by spring 2018.
Working with the Law Society of Upper Canada, the province will ensure that people who need the services of lawyers and paralegals are protected and understand the agreements that they are signing.
To support clients entering into contingency fee agreements, the Law Society of Upper Canada has approved the following changes that will:
- Introduce a mandatory standard contingency fee agreement
- Create a guide for the public, which contains information on consumer rights in relation to contingency fee agreements.
- Require legal professionals to publicly disclose the maximum contingency fee percentage they charge by practice area.
- Require lawyers and paralegals to report annually on their contingency fee practices.
Establishing a Strong, Independent Regulator
Modernizing the auto insurance rate approval process, reducing red tape and strengthening consumer protection through amendments to the Insurance Act will provide the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario with rule-making authority, thus enabling it to promptly and effectively respond to insurance market trends, facilitating industry innovation to benefit consumers.