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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.
ODSP -What you need to know..
Recent changes to the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) will have a huge impact for those who receive these benefits and are involved in personal injury cases.
As of August 1, 2017, awards for pain and suffering are fully exempt from personal injury settlements and are no longer considered as income or an asset when calculated for this purpose. This is a significant change from the previous ODSP limit of up to $100,000 and alleviates the need to seek ODSP approval on amounts greater than $100,000.
These compensation exemptions apply to:
· Awards for pain and suffering, usually ordered through a court, as a result of a loss or injury to or the death of a family member. For example, this could include an individual or their family member being compensated for facing loss or injury from a car accident or from medical malpractice.
· Awards for expenses from an injury to or death of a family member (typically in an accident).
· Awards for loss of care, guidance and companionship due to an injury to or the death of a family member.
· Awards for non-economic loss under certain sections of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act and the Workers’ Compensation Act.
Also exempt are amounts for pre-judgment interest (unless it is interest on income) and awards for medical and rehabilitation benefits under SABS and awards under the Family Law Act are also exempt.
It should be understood that these awards will not affect a person’s ODSP eligibility. This means that someone who receives a large
settlement can still stay on ODSP.
And, while ODSP will not revisit past awards, those that were not processed prior to August 1, can still take adv
antage of t
he new rules. Individuals who received a settlement award of over $100,000 in the past and have since come off ODSP, can reapply if they still qualify and their settlement will be exempt.
With this change, award recipients are free to use their money any way that they see fit. Where, previously, medical and rehabilitation funds would need to be allocated to disability related items and services, individuals can now use the money as they like as long as they adhere to the rules on spending for non-exempt assets.
The new changes do not apply to any settlement for Income Replacement Benefits, Non-Earner Benefits, and Past or Future Loss of Income. These benefits will still be used to calculate income and/or assets for ODSP purposes. It also does not apply to awards for loss of income. The individual will need to claim that amount as income.
If you have questions about ODSP rules and claims for personal injury, you can always call for a free consultation at: (613) 978-954
Settling Personal Injury Lawsuit Out of Court
If you have been injured in an accident and are considering a personal injury lawsuit you may be somewhat familiar with the process – accident, evidence, lawyers, court rooms, trial and compensation. But what about settlement? Most accident victims don’t consider settlement, yet the majority personal injury cases do not go to trial. Most are, in fact, settled out of court.
A settlement happens when both parties involved in the suit come to an agreement. The victim is offered compensation and the trial process can be avoided.
Knowing the ins and outs of the settlement process will help to decide if it is an option to consider. Either way, the decision always remains with the victim as to whether or not they will choose to settle. There are many reasons why it may be an option depending on the circumstances of case.
Trials are very time consuming. Appearing in court means time off work, travel expenses and hours of preparation. Some personal injury cases can take years to settle.
Trials are very unpredictable. Working with an experienced personal injury lawyer, and assessing the circumstances, evidence and witnesses, a good lawyer can usually tell how things will go in a settlement. When the case goes to trial, the outcome is in the hands of the judge and jury.
Trials are expensive and they take a long time, which means higher fees for lawyers, expert witnesses and specialists. A settlement reduces the amount of all of these expenses.
Settlement hearings are private, whereas, a trial is open and can be very stressful. Appearing in front of strangers, answering personal questions and sharing the details of your injury can be a huge strain for some.
Some may see accepting a settlement as taking the easy way out, but depending on the circumstances, it may be the best course of action. If you are considering legal action in a personal injury case, call us for a free consultation. Our personal injury lawyers will work with you to help you get the best outcome possible and maximum compensation, whether through settlement by going to court.