These days, it seems very foreign to see someone talking on a cell phone while driving. Since 2009, Ontario drivers have been banned from using hand-held devices that create distracted driving behind the wheel.
Since then, the use of cell phones and other personal electronics has risen and driver distraction has increased with the introduction of smart watches, GPS systems and on-board information screens.
Sadly, in Ontario, deaths from collisions caused by distracted driving have doubled since 2000 with distracted driving being the number one cause of road deaths in Ontario.
Currently, if a driver is caught using a hand-held device, they can expect a $490 fine and three demerit points.
On January 1, 2019, new laws will take effect in Ontario with escalating sanctions, increased fines and license suspension. At the same time, the list of activities that count as distracted driving has also expanded.
Effective January 1, a distracted driver will receive a summons with a court date where fines for a first offence can be high as $1,000.
- First offence: 3 days suspension and $1,000 fine
- Second offence: 7 days suspension and $2,000 fine
- Three or more offences: 30 days suspension, $3,000 fine and six demerit points
New Distracted Driving laws
Under the new law, anything that causes a driver to be less focused on the road constitutes distracted driving, this includes:
- Simply holding an electronic device in your hands (hand-held communication during driving is against the law)
- Using a cellular phone to talk, text, check maps or switch playlists
- Eating (there may not be a licence suspension, but the RCMP warn you could be fined or given six demerits depending on the food)
- Reading books or documents
- Typing a destination into the GPS
As we head into the new year, we can all resolve to end distracted driving and to keep our roadways safe for all. Turn off your phone or switch it to silent mode before you get in the car. If you need to, put the phone in the glove compartment or in a bag on the back seat. Consider using an app that blocks incoming calls and text while you are driving. If you must respond, or have to make a call or send a text, carefully pull over to a safe area.
If you, or a loved one, has been involved in an accident or injured due to distracted driving call us today. We understand, we care and we are here to help.
We just had our first long weekend of the summer and Ontario Police have launched their Drive Safe Campaign in conjunction with National Road Safety Week. (May 15 – 21, 2018). Using the campaign slogan, “Who’s in Control?”, the police emphasized the need for drivers to consider the effects of vehicle safety systems, impaired driving, distracted driving, aggressive driving, and seatbelt safety. Throughout the campaign, police were also warning the public that the legalization and regulation of cannabis means that everyone will have to take extra care on the road.
“Drug-impaired driving is already an issue. With legalization and regulation of cannabis, we expect that, based on the experience in other jurisdictions, drug impaired driving will increase,” said Chief Superintendent Chuck Cox (Ontario Provincial Police). “This is not a new issue to police. We are already dealing with it and have people trained as Drug Recognition Evaluators (DREs) to conduct Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFST).”
As new legislation and safeguards come available to stop drug-impaired driving and give police powers to investigate and arrest drug impaired drivers, it is still not clear how the legalization of marijuana will impact police from a day-to-day operational perspective, including how it will affect police agencies’ budgets. There is concern that federal funding for police to deal with the impact of legalized cannabis may not be enough.
Drivers can expect increased police presence on our roads in the hopes of reducing accidents. Officers will be looking to make sure that motorists are in control of their vehicles. This includes distracted driving.
So far this year, OPP have seen 40 deaths related to distracted and inattentive driving. That is around twice the number of impaired-driving deaths. It’s the seventh year in a row that distracted driving has caused more deaths than impaired driving. These stats are startling and disheartening.
If you are a driver, commit to turning your phone to silent and driving without distractions. If you are a passenger in a vehicle and you see the driver is distracted, voice your concerns or choose not to ride with them
The minimum fine for distracted driving is $490 and three demerit points.
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 the item you are considering. Ask the seller where they bought it, how long they have had it or if it has ever 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
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.