Personal Injury Lawyer Ottawa David Hollingsworth on distracted driving… With the increase in distracted driving fines last month there has been a lot of information about distracted driving released. The most startling fact is that Ontario Provincial Police announced that distracted driving is the number one killer on our province’s roads. More people died as a result of distracted driving than any other reason in Ontario. According to the Ontario Provincial Police, last year there were a total of 78 fatal accidents related to distracted driving, 57 fatal accidents related to impaired driving and 44 fatal accidents related to speeding.
Earlier this month, a new legislation was put in place and saw fines for distracted driving rise from $225 from $155. The Ontario government is also proposing new legislation that would further penalize distracted drivers by having them lose 3 demerit points, as well as give judges the authority to raise the amount of distracted driving fines up to $1,000. In other serious cases, police also have an option of laying a “Careless Driving” charge under the Highway Traffic Act. The Careless Driving charge has serious penalties such as a loss of 6 demerit points, fines of up to $2,000 and possible jail time. The question remains …will this be enough to deter drivers?
I also wanted to mention that distracted driving happens at all age levels, young and old. It’s not just new drivers and “the younger generation”. We now live in a world where many; young and old, are glued to their devices for work and personal reasons. It’s important to note that distracted driving is not just talking and texting on your phone. It’s taking your eyes off the road. Distracted driving can include getting something out of your purse, tending to children in the back seat, changing radio stations etc…Essentially it can be anything that diverts your attention. The distracted driving section of the Highway Traffic act law only deals with handheld electronic devices. This means that these other activities can be very distracting and dangerous but they are not against the law. According to The Ministry of Transportation Ontario’s distracted driving law is aimed at a particular form of distracted driving; which is the use of hand-held communication and entertainment devices and display screens. In time, will we need to revisit was is legally considered “distracted driving” ?
Please focus on the road. We need every driver on the road to be concentrating on the roads and their surroundings so that our roads are safer for everyone. Drive safely !
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 !