Distracted Driving is the leading cause of Injury for Ontario motorists

Posted by Injury Lawyers of Ontario on September 06, 2020

Distracted driving is the leading cause of car accidents in Ontario and more fatalities are caused by distracted driving than any other action, including impaired driving and speeding.  What’s more, studies have revealed that the majority of collisions and near-misses (about 80 and 65 percent, respectively) involved some form of driver inattention several seconds before the crash took place.  Clearly, driver distraction is a serious problem and distracted driving accidents are almost always avoidable.  

Distracted driving involves any activity that takes a driver’s attention or focus off the road and currently, the following actions are against the law, pursuant to Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act, s. 78:

  • Using a handheld electronic device while driving, including a cell phone or music player, such as an IPod.  
  • Holding a mobile device or cell phone while driving. This includes texting or talking on your hand-held phone while stopped at a red light or stop sign.
  • Viewing a display screen that is unrelated to driving, such as a laptop or video game.

There are many other actions, besides those listed above, which can compromise a driver’s attention to the road.  And, any of these actions can easily result in a distracted driving accident, particularly during unexpected driving events, such as a slow down in traffic due to highway construction or when another driver does something unexpected, such as changing lanes ahead of your vehicle.  Talking and texting on a cell phone are overwhelming the leading cause of distracted driving accidents, but here are additional actions that also cause these types of accidents:

  • Talking on a hands-free mobile device.
  • Eating or drinking.
  • Adjusting your music selection, heat controls or other controls.
  • Looking at a map or GPS that’s not mounted.
  • Making changes to your GPS while driving.
  • Applying makeup
  • Turning to talk to passengers
  • Discipling or adjusting children or pets.
  • Smoking.
  • Looking at scenery or landmarks.
  • Zoning out on a familiar or repetitive route.

There is ample research that concludes that talking on a hands-free device is almost, if not equally, as dangerous as a hand-held device.  Drivers who talk on either a hands-free or hands-held device are four times more likely to be involved in a collision.  Texting is even more risky and drivers are 23 times as likely to crash while texting since, in addition to taking your mind off the road, texting involves taking your eyes off the road for a longer period. So, the safest strategy is to put your phone out of reach or simply turn it off while driving. 

Multiple studies have shown that the vast majority of Canadians believe that using your phone to talk or text is very risky, yet many of those same people surveyed admitted that they continue to do so, at least once in a while.  What’s also disturbing is that distracted drivers more often cause other drivers to crash or become injured, than causing injury to themselves. This could involve a near-accident when the distracted driver cuts off another driver or cyclist at the last minute and causes the other road user to crash, while the at fault driver is able to continue on their way.

If you or a loved one were injured as a result of dangerous driving behaviour, such as distracted driving, talk to a knowledgeable distracted driving lawyer at Injury Lawyers of Ontario.  You may be entitled to damages for any losses you sustained, such as rehabilitation expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering.


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