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One province sees steady increase in inattentive driving crashes

British Columbia motorists might be alarmed to read about crash data coming in from Toronto revealing that the number of drivers cited as inattentive has grown by 50 percent since 2000. Of the more than 55,000 drivers involved in a car accident and marked as inattentive by police, the data gathered by the Global News from Toronto between 2000 and 2012 reveals, approximately a fifth of the crashes involved injuries, and 12 accidents were fatal.

According to a Toronto constable, inattention while driving can constitute a wide range of activities, including using a mobile device, eating and putting on makeup. At the beginning of 2010, a law making distracted driving a criminal offense was enacted, so driving while using a handheld device became illegal. Since then, more than 82,000 drivers in Toronto have been charged under the law.

It is important to note that officers can note inattentive driving without citing motorists for this offense; for criminal charges to ensue, the individual needs to have been looking at a handheld device or visible screen. According to a McMaster University professor, the increase in citing inattention as a cause for collisions could be due to the changing behaviors of drivers, a result of increased police attention to the issue or both. He states that the awareness of mobile devices leading to an accident could be the reason for the growing number of police citing it as the cause.

The modern world is rife with distractions, including a proliferation of handheld devices, that can carry over to Canada’s roadways. While a distracted driver may not necessarily be cited for his or her role in an accident, other motorists injured in the accident could have legal recourse for recovering compensation for the damages they sustained. A personal injury lawyer could assist them in pursing compensation from the person responsible or an insurance company in a personal injury claim.

Source: Global Toronto, “Toronto car crashes: More distracted drivers, fewer drunk ones”, Patrick Cain, Aug. 1, 2014