Ontario Court of Appeal : Even if your phone is off, it is still illegal to hold a phone while driving.

Ottawa Injury Lawyers David Hollingsworth. We understand, we care and we’re here to help.

CBC news reported that the Ontario’s Court of Appeal has determined that it is indeed illegal to hold a cellphone when driving. The decision was released on Friday in 2 cases where 2 people were convicted under the Highway Traffic Act for violating the ban on using cellphones when driving. One case involved a woman who argued that she wasn’t using the phone but merely picking her phone up off the floor after it had fallen.  She was stopped at a red light when doing so and a police officer noticed her with a phone in her hand.

Originally, the charges were dismissed when a judge decided that there needed to be some “sustained physical holding”  to convict of these charges; however, the Appeal Court overturned that decision.

In another related case, a driver was caught driving and holding a cellphone but argued that it couldn’t be proven that the phone was sending or receiving at the time. The Ontario Court of Appeal did not see it that way and determined that holding a mobile phone is an offence under the law because ” the language in the law requiring a capability of sending or receiving applies only to devices other than cellphones , because cellphones have that capability automatically built-in.

It was reported on cbc.ca that Transportation Minister Jim Bradley said that the goal of Ontario legislature is to make sure that drivers focus “on one thing and one thing only: driving,”

The Court of Appeal went on to state that having a complete ban on holding a cell phone while driving “best focuses a driver’s undivided attention on driving.”

Despite distracted driving campaigns and police enforcement, according to the Transport Canada’s National Collision Database for the years 2006 to 2010,  fatal accidents where distracted driving is noted as a cause have gone up by 17 % in Canada from 302 deaths to 352. Having a complete ban on holding a cellphone while driving may remove temptations for some to “quickly” check something and lose their driving focus.  I believe the The Court of Appeal’s decision is aiming to eliminate any grey areas and hopefully the end result will be safer roads and fewer accidents related to distracted driving.

For several years, distracted driving has surpassed impaired driving as one of the top causes of accidents in Ontario.  While many point to teenage drivers as being people that drive distracted, it is a problem across the ages.  Although cellphones are a huge problem when it comes to distracted driving, there are also many other distractions out there such as children in the back seat, eating, animals in the car, putting on make-up etc…

We all need to use common sense and keep our focus on what we are doing; whether that be driving or walking. The stakes are too high and the statistics don’t lie.  Please, put your phone away and keep your eyes on the road !

 


Have a great, safe long weekend ! Ottawa Police targeting speeding and pedestrian accidents.

Personal Injury Lawyers in Ottawa Ontario

We can all help in working towards reducing the number of accidents in Ottawa and Gatineau. In an effort to keep our streets safer, Ottawa Police and Gatineau Police are focussing on pedestrian safety and reducing speeding in the Ottawa/Gatineau area.

Did you know that…

Between 2008 and 2012, there were 1,814 Ottawa/Gatineau accidents involving pedestrians which resulted in 1,706 personal injuries and 38 deaths.

Did you also know that…

Between 2008 and 2012, there were 16,033 Ottawa/ Gatineau accidents as a result of  speeding ? These accidents caused  4,543 personal injuries and 69 deaths.

Yes, accidents happen; however these accidents can often times be prevented.  The Ottawa community wants safer roads and if everyone does their part, we can have them.  The Ottawa Police are on board, Ottawa schools are on board, the community is on board and now we need every individual on board. There are many Ottawa community initiatives already in place to promote a safer and healthier community. This means all drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians need to be a part of a safer Ottawa environment. An accident can change your life in an instant and your life may never be the same again. I meet daily with families whose lives have been completely altered by an accident. An accident affects the lives of not only the injured but usually everyone around them; especially family members.

Set an example for your children. Please, talk to your kids about driving responsibly.  If you are the driver, remember these statistics the next time you are contemplating putting your foot on the pedal to get there sooner. Your health and the health of your family is incredibly important.

As we head into the long weekend, many people will be driving on highways to get to their destinations, I urge everyone to please drive safely and have a great, safe long weekend.

 


Ottawa Police issue 751 charges. What were the infractions? Ottawa accident lawyer David Hollingsworth shares the results.

David Hollingsworth Injury Lawyers.

The Ottawa Police and Gatineau Police targeted distracted driving and cycling safety during the months of May and June and the results were astonishing. A total of  751 charges were laid in an effort to help make Ottawa and Gatineau roads a safer place.  What is also interesting is the type of driving offenses that occurred in a short time frame of 2 months.

The Safer Roads Ottawa Program is a leading community partnership between Ottawa Fire Services, Ottawa Paramedic Service, Ottawa Police Service, Ottawa Public Health and the Public Works Department. These organisations work together towards preventing and eliminating accidents, deaths and serious personal injuries in the Ottawa area. Their goal is to change culture, engage our community and develop a sustainable safe transportation environment.

In the months of May and June, the following infractions occurred and Ottawa Police charged:

Motorcycle infractions 29

Running red lights 475

Impaired driving 142

Construction zone infractions 107

Ottawa Accident Lawyers

As an Ottawa personal injury lawyer, these infractions are shocking to us. It would seem that everyone of these infractions is preventable and could very well cause a serious accident.  We all need to be aware of the severity and consequences of these infractions. You may think running a red light can save you 5 minutes in driving time; however the reality is that not running that red light might save your life and the lives of loved ones.  Too often I meet with families who have lost a loved one or someone is severely injured and their lives have been changed forever. They would do anything to turn back the clock , they would do anything to not have had that accident. Often times the accident was not their  fault and could have been avoided. Let’s all work together to make Ottawa roads a safer place to drive, cycle, walk and be on. Do your part.

 

 


Ottawa injury lawyers David Hollingsworth and Associates share cycling safety tips for cyclists of all ages.

Ottawa Cycling Accidents

The kids are out on their bikes and summer is finally here. This can also means an increase in the number of bicycle related accidents.  Ottawa Police recently targeted bicycle safety infractions in Ottawa with a goal of educating people and enforcing  the rules of the road. Read more about this initiative here  https://www.ottawainjury.ca/lawyers/ottawa-personal-injury-accidents/ottawa-personal-injury-lawyers-happy-to-see-ottawa-police-focusing-on-cycling-safety/ and the results were astonishing.

The Ministry of Transportation has put out some great resources and safety tips for cyclists of all ages.

They offer FREE cycling guides that can be immediately downloaded.

The Ministry has produced a detailed handbook of rules and safety standards for all riders entitled “Cycling Skills: Ontario’s Guide to Safe Cycling” and the “Young Cyclist’s Guide” , which is a handbook designed for younger riders that deals specifically with cycling safety tips and rules for children on bicycles.  I highly urge you to take a look and if possible download these guides to share with your children.

There are rules and regulations when it comes to bicycle use. In Ontario, bicycles do not require registration, plates, or  insurance.  Anyone is allowed to ride a bicycle; however, the rules of the road to apply to bicycles. For instance,  a cyclist must share the road with other vehicles.

Under the HTA, the Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act a bicycle is a vehicle, just like any other vehicle such as a car and cyclists must obey  all traffic laws. Cyclists must also be responsible drivers and must obey rules surrounding bicycles. For example, on a regular bicycle, it is illegal to transport a passenger , when the bicycle is meant for one person only.

In Ontario, all cyclists must stay as close as possible to the right edge of the road , unless otherwise indicated. In some instances, there may be designated bike lanes that are not immediately to the right . Cyclists in Ontario cannot ride their bicycles on most highways ( Ontario’s 400-series highways) and cyclists must not drive across a road within a pedestrian crossover . The rules in Ontario are that cyclists  must walk their bicycles to the other side of the crossover.

Ontario law states that every cyclist under the age of 18 years must wear an approved helmet and for cyclists under the age of16 years old, it is the responsibility of the parent or guardian to ensure their child is wearing a helmet while riding a bicycle. The helmet must also fit properly to offer as much protection as possible.

While not mandatory for adults, as an Ottawa personal injury lawyer, I strongly urge all adults to wear a helmet while cycling. Helmets are not compulsory for adults, but in my opinion,  the use of a helmet may very well save your life.  There are plenty of cycling resources out there and the Ministry of Transportation is just one of them, but a good one, so I thought I would share it with you.  Have a great, safe summer of cycling.

 


Ottawa injury lawyer David Hollingsworth on water safety. Is your pool complying with Ottawa by-laws?

Ottawa Bylaws and Pool safety

Its looks like its going to be an incredibly hot weekend this weekend. I hope you all have a chance to cool off. If you plan on heading to a  pool, beach or river, Please do so safely.  I was on the Red Cross website and found some amazing resources that relate to water safety. Here are just a few recommendations

  • Learn to swim and learn safety techniques. Even if you are an adult, it isn’t too late.
  • Know where you are swimming.  Don’t swim in unknown waters.
  • Don’t swim beyond your ability.
  • Never swim alone.
  • When swimming in the ocean, be cognizant of the fact that tides and currents are present.
  • Know the signs of hypothermia and how to treat hypothermia.
  • Always supervise children at all times.
  • Make sure your pool is properly fenced in and ensure gates have self-locking latches. Check your lock repeatedly.
  • Communicate pool rules to any guests .
  • Keep a first aid kit close by.

Did you know?

Children ages 1 to 4 and men ages 15 to 44 have the highest rate of drowning fatalities.
• Drowning is one of the leading causes of unintentional death for Canadian children ages 1-4.
• It only takes a second to  disappear
A person can drown in only a few centimetres of water
Each year there are many near-death drownings that result in hospitalization and varying degrees of brain damage.
• Infants and toddlers  mainly drown  in bathtubs and pools. Older children and youth drown mainly in large bodies of water.
The City of Ottawa’s By-laws have recently changed when  it comes to pool enclosures:

Every enclosure must be at least 1.5 metres (5 ft) in height and comply with the minimum construction specifications detailed in Ottawa’s By-law which include:

  • Chain link construction with links no greater than 38 mm (1.5 in)
  • Vertical board construction
  • New specifications for other fence materials that have become more popular such as wrought iron, aluminum or vinyl construction
  • A fence, wall or other structure that provides an equivalent enclosure.

All openings through or under the fence must be of a size to prevent the passage of a 100 mm or 4 inches spherical object.  An enclosure cannot be located less than 1 m (3 ft) from the nearest surface that is wet of the pool.

I have written a few other posts on water safety. If you wish to read more click https://www.ottawainjury.ca/lawyers/ottawa-personal-injury-accidents/ottawa-lawyer-david-hollingsworth-on-boating-safety-and-national-water-safety-week/

Please for your safety and the safety of others, be particularly aware around water.  Even people who know how to swim die every year. Have a great safe and happy weekend !

 

 


Are you a Ottawa cyclist? Do you know the Ontario Highway Traffic Act and Ottawa cycling bylaws?

Ottawa Bicycle Accident Lawyers David Hollingsworth

It looks to be a gorgeous day in Ottawa and I suspect many people will be getting their bicycles out for the first time this year.  Cycling is an amazing activity. Sadly, it is not an activity without it’s risks.  There are many things drivers and cyclists can do to help reduce the likelihood of a cycling accident.  There are also a number of laws in Ottawa surrounding cycling and cycling safety.

For example, did you know that  in certain circumstances a bicycle is considered to be a vehicle and that any collisions must be reported  to Ottawa police if  injuries or damages are in excess of $1,000 ? It’s important to treat a cycling accident like you would a motor vehicle accident.  Gather all the information such as names, phone numbers, witnesses, insurance information, policy numbers etc. As soon as possible, write out your account of what happened in the accident and keep this information in a safe place. Cyclists who are hit by a motor vehicle are entitled to compensation through the driver’s insurance company and Ontario accident benefits.

The Ontario Highway Traffic Act is also quite specific when it comes to bicycles.  If it’s a 1/2  hour before sunset or 1/2 hour after sunrise, or anytime there is reduced visibility. By law, every bicycle must be fully equipped with…

  • A working bell or horn (A fine of $85 can be issued if you are cycling without a working bell or horn)
  • A working braking system on the rear wheel (A fine of $85 can be issued if you are cycling without a proper working braking system)
  • A front light (white) (A fine of $20 can be issued if you are cycling without lights)
  • A  rear light (red) or red rear reflector
  • 2 pieces of white reflective tape on front forks
  • 2 pieces of red reflective tape on rear forks

In Ottawa, bicycle helmets must be worn by all cyclists under 16 years of age. A fine of $60.00 can be issued for not wearing a helmet. All helmets must be CSA or CPSC certified. All helmets need to fit properly and close to the head and all bicycle helmet straps need to fit properly under the ears.

A few basic pathway rules are…

  • Cycle on the right of the yellow centre line
  • Be cautious when passing others
  • Always use a bell/voice/horn when passing others
  • Whenever possible use hand turn signals
  • Cycle at a reasonable speed
  • Exercise caution while cycling in the evening. Slow down, wear bright colored clothes and turn on all bicycle lights

Cyclists who do not yield or stop for pedestrians at crosswalks are subject to a $85.00 fine.

Cyclists who do not walk their bikes  at crosswalks are subject to $85.00

The following are not considered to be bicycles and therefore have different laws :

  • Limited speed motorcycles
  • Motor assisted bicycles
  • Segway Transporters
  • Low speed vehicles
  • Motorized scooters
  • Pocket bikes

Please enjoy your day out on your bicycles and ride safely.  Sadly, I meet too regularly with Ottawa bicycle accident victims who have bit hit, doored or suffered serious personal injuries as a result of a cycling accident. Both drivers and cyclists have their role in helping reduce the number of Ottawa cycling accidents.  Let’s work together on this Ottawa !

 


Let’s eliminate dangerous driving. OPP launch Facebook site dedicated to sharing real stories of texting and driving and the dangerous outcomes.

Reduction in Ottawa accidents and the elimination of dangerous driving

Did you know that texting while driving increases your chances by more than 20 times to become involved in an accident ? The Ontario Provincial Police announced that although people who know how dangerous texting and driving is, drivers are continuing to text and drive. Sarah Anderson, of CFRA reported that the OPP have launched a new campaign  “Put Down the Phone and Leave it Alone” in an effort to educate people on the serious dangers of texting , talking and driving. One way they plan to hit home the message is to share stories publicly.  They are hoping that people will read true stories of people who have died from texting and driving or talking and driving and think twice about doing it themselves.  For example, recently a family released the final text their son wrote, which wasn’t completely finished, as he died while texting it. He was distracted and drove into oncoming traffic.

The OPP have set up a  Facebook page for such stories. They are encouraging people to contribute stories of near-misses, accidents and dangerous distracted driving. The goal is to have people rethink their own driving safety habits.

So far, there has been input from the public.  People are writing in stories that need to be shared. As an Ottawa personal injury lawyer, I sadly meet with families who have lost loved ones as a result of distracted driving.  These are senseless accidents and can absolutely be avoided.  We worry so much about new teenage drivers, it is important to note that if you have children in the car, you must lead by example.  Your children will watch what you are doing, If they learn from you that it is ok to text and drive occasionally, guess what ? They will text and drive.  Talk to your children and highlight the fact that you can’t answer your emails or text, as you are driving and driving and texting is not an option. Please, please put your devices far away from the wheel. This will avoid any temptation you may have .  If it’s far enough away, you can’t grab it.

Texting and driving has become a serious problem and we must put an end to it. Regardless of how many years you have been driving you cannot text and drive.  It takes a split second for an accident to happen. That accident could kill you, your family or someone else.  If you don’t believe me, call me and I can share some very sad stories with you.

Let’s all work together to eliminate dangerous driving. It can be done. All we have to do is change our mindsets and our habits. Drive safely !

 


Ontario Police focusing on distracted driving: It’s not just cell phones !

Ottawa accident and distracted driving

For everyone’s safety, the OPP-Ontario Ontario Provincial Police are about to begin a distracted driving campaign next week. This is not the first distracted driving campaign in the Ottawa area.  Ontario Police often target distracted drivers and you wouldn’t believe the number of infractions that occur in just a one weekend blitz campaign. I support these campaigns fully.  As a Ottawa personal injury lawyer, I read police accident reports daily and the number of Ottawa area accidents caused by distracted driving is astonishing.  What bothers me most, is that these accidents are avoidable. I’m not saying I don’t understand how it happens.   I too have children that suddenly start fighting in the back seat and before I know it, my attention has been diverted from the road to them. It  happens. That is why reminders such as this post are so useful. My goal is to have us all tuck this post in the back of our minds and hopefully the next time a situation arises when we are driving, we will remember.

Ontario Police are not only focusing on distracted drivers, they are also asking drivers to leave any handheld devices out of reach while driving. Yes, put your phone away.  Don’t even have it out. Leave your phone in your purse , or even the back of the car.  If it’s too close, the fear is that you might be tempted to check that text that just came in etc.. We can’t have that ! Ontario Police are also asking that passengers to speak to their drivers if they are driving distracted. While this may be uncomfortable, it is life saving ! This is particularly important if you have teenagers or children in the car.  Please do not set a bad example.

As I mentioned earlier, distracted is not limited to texting or talking on the phone.  Although texting is the most dangerous, there are other obstacles that can divert your attention while driving. The most common are:

eating,

drinking,

watching other drivers,

focussing on kids in the backseat ,

looking in the mirror,

or personal grooming.

Please tuck this information away and hopefully we can all work together to reduce  Ottawa accidents and keep our roads safe. Drive safely and have a great day.

David Hollingsworth has been a top Ottawa Ontario personal injury lawyer for close to 15 years.  David works with an incredible team of highly skilled injury lawyers, Ontario accident benefits specialists and personal injury law clerks .

 

 


We love hearing from our Ottawa injury clients.

Happy with our injury lawyers? Please let us know !

We received another great email today from a client who came to us close to 2 years ago after she had suffered a serious back injury in an accident.  We began working with her and her family soon after her accident and were able to secure them a great settlement that allowed them to continue on with life much more financially comfortable and start rebuilding a life with a serious back injury. Not only do we help secure her financial future, we were able to get her in to see some of Ottawa’s top back specialists. We also helped them set up for the future with a plan that would make sure they were well taken care of.  This client is just one of many clients we help each month. Here is what she had to say.

“I just wanted to say thanks again.  My husband and I sat down last night and for the first time felt like it was finally over and that is thanks to you and your staff.  We really appreciated everything you did for us David and know how hard you worked to get it for us. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts.  “

Our success as personal injury lawyers

As Ottawa personal injury lawyers, we are also very thankful that we are in a position to help.  Our success rate speaks for itself and we pride ourselves on how hard we work and how experienced we are. We know how to make a difference for each and every one of our clients.

Our Ottawa personal injury lawyers are experienced and dedicated accident lawyers specializing in Ontario personal injury, accidents and insurance claims.  Since 1999, we have built one of the top Ottawa personal injury lawyer teams.

 


How to help your teenager be a better driver and help reduce Ottawa accidents and personal injuries.

Tips for teenage drivers

David Hollingsworth is a personal injury lawyer in Ottawa Ontario.

Car accidents are the leading cause of death in teenagers and sadly are on the rise. We can’t have this . The Ottawa Sun published some tips for teenage drivers . The tips originally came from FORD and the Ford Driving Skills for Life program. This program is aimed at helping parents help new teenage drivers and helping them be safe drivers. Some of the best tips were as follows:

1.Focus on driving. Watch the road and keep your hands on the wheel.

2.Always use your seatbelts and make sure your passengers buckle up as well.

3. Obey speed limits. They are there for a reason.

4. Do not talk, text or use any non-hands free device while driving. That;s how people die.

5. Always allow enough room between you and the next vehicle.

6. Be aware of road hazards: animals, potholes and other drivers.

7. Obey all driving laws. This includes piling too many people in the car etc..

8. Never drink and drive. There is always a better, safer alternative. Find one !

All of these seem obvious, but please take a moment and review or have your teenager read them, AGAIN. It will never hurt.  We have to be able to empower our teenage drivers and make sure they have the tools they need to be out on the roads safely. Please, we owe it to them. As parents, we won’t always be in the car with our children. That is why it is imperative that we teach them and give them the tools to safely handle a vehicle. It might just be one of the most valuable lessons you ever taught your child.

For over a decade, we have been Ottawa injury lawyers helping Ontario accident victims and specializing in Ontario personal injury law and  insurance claims.