Driving Dangers In Ottawa

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Ottawa Car Accident Lawyers Look At Accident Numbers And Solutions

When it comes to car safety in Ottawa, there’s room for improvement. Though by and large, Ottawa might seem to have a good track record for car collisions, the numbers suggest otherwise.

Consider how often traffic delays due to a collision occur on the Queensway, or how often a busy downtown intersection is home to a collision. The call for car accident lawyers to resolve these cases remains unfortunately high.

Collisions By The Numbers

Between 2008 and 2014, there have been over 200 fatalities on Ottawa roadways, not to mention over 26,000 injuries as a result of car accidents. In 2015, an Allstate survey looking at collision claims throughout Canada placed Ottawa at 78th out of 81 cities, suggesting that accidents are still remarkably common in the city. In fact, Ottawa’s collision rates follow closely behind collision leaders Ajax and North York-the national capital is the third-worst city for collision claims.

So just how likely is an accident in this city, then, and what’s being done about it?

National Statistics

According to a report delivered to the City of Ottawa’s Transportation Committee in November of 2011, on average, six Canadians die in crashes and accidents every day.

Based on this figure, an estimated 2,200 Canadians are killed in traffic collisions annually-Transport Canada’s official figure isn’t too far off, at a little over 1,800 fatalities total in 2014 alone. While it may seem low, that’s still a significant number of collisions and points to larger trends in car safety that need addressing.

Distracted Driving Risks

Distracted drivers continue to be a serious safety concern on all roadways. In August of 2016, a distracted driver from Ottawa made national headlines when she dangerously cut off a motorcyclist while using her cell phone. The cyclist filed a police report, and sure enough, the distracted driver was charged with careless and distracted driving soon after.

Unfortunately, a staggering number of distracted driving cases go unreported; in fact, it’s even been suggested that nearly a third of all Ottawa collisions are the result of distracted driving.

Even more recently, Ottawa police issued over 400 tickets during the 2016 Thanksgiving long weekend. By that point in the year, they’d also handed well over a million dollars in fines. This included 2,187 charges for cell phone use.

Changing Legislation

Distracted driving has become such a safety issue on the road that the Province of Ontario made changes to both the Making Ontario’s Roads Safer Act and the Highway Traffic Act in 2015:

  • Distracted driving fines escalated dramatically, with a minimum fine of $60 increasing to $300;
  • Three demerit points are now assigned following the conviction of a driving offence;
  • Novice drivers convicted of distracted driving get a 30-day suspension on the first conviction; the second conviction is 90 days long; and the third is an immediate license cancellation, forcing them to start the graduated licensing program all over again.

These changes also included updates for pedestrians and cyclists in proximity with drivers, updating laws to actively look out for their safety and decrease the likelihood of an accident.

In some cases, though, these updates grant permission for things cyclists must do in order to stay safe on Ontario’s roads-for example, as of 2015, cyclists are permitted to use the paved shoulder to stay out of the way of traffic, something that seems like an obvious way to encourage cyclist safety.

Bike lanes would appear to be a clear solution to reducing the chances of a collision between a vehicle and rider, and yet the day a new bike lane was opened on O’Connor Street in Ottawa, a cyclist was hit by a vehicle. Shortly after, another cyclist had to deal with a popped tire thanks to a patch of thumb tacks left in the lane.

What’s Next?

It goes without saying that Ottawa police encourage actively safe driving, and describe it as a conscious decision that must be made every time a driver gets behind the wheel. But of course, you can’t control other drivers on the road. Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation specifically encourages drivers to manage the space around their car as the greater distance gives drivers more time to react to sudden stops.

These ongoing issues highlight the need for greater safety on Ottawa’s roadways and the importance of all drivers doing their best to drive safely and respect others every time they get behind the wheel. While it’s impossible to prevent all accidents, we can continue to make Ottawa’s number of collision-related injuries and fatalities drop.

If you’ve been injured in a collision, know your rights-contact Ottawa’s trusted car accident lawyers today to get the compensation you deserve under the law.