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Distracted driving likely to remain biggest killer on Ontario roads

The OPP says that distracted driving is the leading factor in traffic deaths in 2015, surpassing impaired driving.

Police say one-quarter of all traffic deaths this year were caused by inattention

As CBC News recently reported, the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) expects 2015 to be the seventh consecutive year with distracted driving as the leading cause of fatal road accidents in the province. The OPP says that so far this year about one-quarter of all traffic deaths were a result of distracted driving accidents. The grim news was released just as law enforcement began a major crackdown against distracted driving in March. Despite tough new fines and penalties against distracted driving, police say the problem remains pervasive on roads and highways.

Fatalities mounting

The OPP noted that so far in 2015, 51 people have died in road and highway accidents in Ontario. The leading causal factor in 12 of those deaths was distracted driving, while impaired driving attributed to five deaths. The OPP says it looks likely that 2015 will shape up to be the seventh year in a row that distracted driving has outpaced impaired driving as Ontario’s biggest killer on the roads.

Perhaps even worse is that many of the distracted driving deaths involved not the distracted drivers themselves, but people who were struck by drivers who were not paying attention to their surroundings. While five of the 12 deaths were drivers who were distracted, the remaining seven deaths involved other parties, such as passengers, other motorists, and pedestrians.

Distracted driving continues

As the Sudbury Star points out, legislation was introduced late last year at Queen’s Park to help reduce the toll distracted driving takes every year. The legislation sought to double distracted driving fines to a maximum of $1,000. Furthermore, drivers convicted of distracted driving would be hit with a penalty of three demerit points. Demerit points can lead to increases in insurance premiums and, if enough such points are collected, may even result in a driver’s licence being suspended.

The OPP says, however, that despite Ontario’s already steep fines against distracted driving the problem continues. They are asking drivers to not only exercise self-discipline when they are behind the wheel, but to also contact 911 if they see other cars driving erratically because of a distracted driver. Also, passengers inside vehicles should never allow a driver to talk or text on a cellphone while driving and should speak up and demand that the driver concentrate solely on the road.

Motor vehicle accidents

Distracted driving is a significant threat on Ontario’s roads and highways. A driver who is not paying attention to driving not only puts his or her own life in danger, but also jeopardizes the safety of everybody else on the road.

People who have been injured by a driver who may have been distracted should get in touch with a personal injury law firm. Because distracted driving can often be difficult to prove, an experienced lawyer can assist accident victims in understanding how best to proceed with their case so that they maximize their chances of receiving whatever compensation they may deserve.

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