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16 deaths in Ontario holiday weekend accidents

Toronto residents refer to it as Simcoe Day while in Ottawa the holiday is called Colonel By Day. The names of the unofficial holiday change from one city or province to the next, but the first Monday in August is probably best known as the Civic Holiday or the August long weekend. The day off prompts many Ontario residents to travel.

Sixteen people died in traffic and waterway accidents in Ontario over the most recent August long weekend. Ontario Provincial Police reported one fatal boating accident, half a dozen drownings and nine motor vehicle fatalities. A pedestrian, a bicyclist and four motorcyclists were among those victims who died.

A canoe flipped over near Algonquin Park claiming the life of one of two men in the boat. All of the drowning victims were males, including three children. Three passengers killed in a single car crash over the weekend were in their 20s.

Officials said the holiday death toll was one of the highest in recent history. Police worked continuously throughout the three-day weekend to investigate the tragedies.

Could these fatalities and the pain and suffering of the victims' families have been avoided? In most instances, the answer is most likely "yes." Negligent actions do not require the intent to harm, but carelessness can be just as deadly as purposeful behavior.

A distracted, fatigued or intoxicated driver fails to live up to the duty each road user has to take reasonable actions to safeguard others from harm. The anticipation of reaching a holiday destination can be a distraction in itself. A driver's thoughts are focused on recreational activities in the near future rather than the important jobs of safely operating a vehicle, driving defensively and avoiding collisions.

These unfortunate errors of judgment may cause serious injuries and wrongful deaths. Legal claims make compensation available for families of victims killed in Ontario accidents caused by negligence.

Source: Global News, "Civic holiday weekend one of the deadliest in years: OPP," Adam Miller, Aug. 05, 2015

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