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Distracted driving contributes to deadly long weekend

Ontario has just seen its deadliest Labour Day weekend in two decades, with distracted driving to blame.

Labour Day weekend this year was the deadliest on Ontario's roads and highways in more than two decades, according to CBC News. The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) say that 12 people died on the roads it patrols and that, while investigations are ongoing, distracted driving is likely to have played a major factor in the increased number of deaths. In fact, the news of the deadly long weekend comes just weeks after the OPP also noted that traffic fatalities caused by distracted driving are likely to be twice as high as impaired driving deaths for all of this year.

Deadly Labour Day weekend

Across the province during the Labour Day long weekend there were 12 fatalities on OPP-patrolled roads, along with one off-road vehicle fatality and a fatality on the water. OPP officials say that the death toll is the highest for the Labour Day weekend in about 20 years.

In at least one of the accidents impaired driving is suspected; however, the OPP is quick to point out that distracted driving likely played a big role in the devastation on the province's roads. Although investigations into the accidents are ongoing, the OPP says it handed out 800 citations across the province for distracted or inattentive driving during the long weekend. By comparison, before the long weekend the OPP had issued about 8,000 distracted driving citations for all of 2016.

How dangerous is distracted driving?

The staggering number of distracted driving citations combined with the worrying uptick in traffic fatalities during the long weekend suggests that distracted drivers are becoming a growing danger on Ontario's roads. In fact, according to Global News, as of mid-August distracted driving deaths were double impaired driving deaths for 2016. Figures from before the deadly Labour Day long weekend show that the OPP had investigated 38 traffic fatalities in 2016 caused by distracted driving and 19 fatalities caused by impaired driving. Furthermore, since the province introduced distracted driving laws in 2009, the OPP has investigated 600 traffic fatalities involving distracted driving.

While tough distracted driving laws may help get some people off of their phones while driving, what is urgently needed is a change in social attitudes towards distracted driving. Attitudes towards impaired driving, for example, shifted considerably over the past few decades, with society moving away from seeing impaired driving as little more than a nuisance towards stigmatizing it as a reckless and dangerous act. That change in social attitudes helped bring down impaired driving deaths substantially. Police hope that by attaching the same sort of social stigma to distracted driving that distracted driving deaths will likewise begin to fall.

Personal injury law

Those who have been injured in an accident, whether the accident was caused by a distracted, impaired, or otherwise reckless driver, should get in touch with a personal injury lawyer today. The team at Bergeron Clifford LLP work exclusively on injury cases, meaning they have the experience and dedication necessary to deliver results for their clients. Anybody who has been injured in a motor vehicle accident in Eastern Ontario should contact Bergeron Clifford LLP today to find out what their options going forward may be.