Distracted driving deaths are double impaired driving deaths

Statistics suggest that distracted driving deaths will double impaired driving deaths in Ontario this year.

Distracted driving has become so prevalent on Ontario's roads that the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) says that distracted driving is on course to take twice as many lives as impaired driving in 2016, according to Global News. With so many fatal car accidents occurring because of inattentive drivers, the grim figures show just how dangerous distracted driving has become in the province and, indeed, throughout the country. The news should also serve as a reminder of the need for drivers to put away their phones when behind the wheel.

Leading cause of traffic fatalities

Distracted driving has already been the leading cause of traffic fatalities in Ontario for some time. However, this year distracted driving has far exceeded other causes of fatal accidents. As of mid-August, the OPP says it has investigated 19 road deaths caused by impaired driving, whereas it has investigated 38 fatalities linked to inattentive drivers. The OPP predicts that if current trends continue then 2016 will see twice as many deaths caused by distracted driving than impaired driving.

The startling statistics underscore the growing problem of distracted driving. Ontario introduced distracted driving laws in 2009, partly in response to the dangers of texting and driving. Since that time the OPP says there have been 600 fatalities in the province linked to distracted drivers.

Finding solutions

Since 2009, Ontario has strengthened its distracted driving laws considerably. As the Ottawa Citizen reports, the minimum fine for distracted driving is now $490 along with three demerit points. Drivers who get three distracted driving citations could find their driver's licence suspended. Police have also stepped up their efforts against distracted driving in a series of enforcement crackdowns.

However, while tough laws and greater enforcement are an important part of the campaign against distracted driving, changing societal attitudes towards distracted driving is also just as important. Far too many drivers, while admitting that distracted driving is dangerous, nonetheless engage in distracted driving behaviours because they assume that their driving abilities are greater than that of other motorists'. The fact is that distracted driving, such as texting and driving, is dangerous in all circumstances.

Personal injury law

Distracted driving has quickly become one of the greatest threats on Ontario's roads and highways. While attitudes towards distracted driving are changing, for the many people who are injured or killed by distracted drivers every year they are not changing fast enough. Those who have been hurt in an accident that may have been caused by a distracted driver should get in touch with a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. An experienced lawyer can help accident victims understand what legal options they have, including potentially pursuing financial compensation claims to help deal with some of the financial hardships created by an accident.