Road Traffic Accident Lawyer – Compensation Claim Setlements
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Road Traffic Accidents in Canada
In 1896 in Great Britain, two deaths were registered as due to motor vehicles. Three years later one was registered due to the same cause in the United States. Fast forward 50 years and the death toll due to road traffic accidents had risen to 1,000,000 deaths in 1951 in the United States alone. Other highly motorized countries like Canada showed similar numbers. These numbers have risen to millions ever since.
Road accidents in recent times have become one of the leading causes of death globally. In 2010, there were a total of 2,227 vehicle fatalities recorded in Canada, according to the Canadian Motor Vehicle Traffic Collision Statistics. These numbers included drivers, passengers, pedestrians, bicyclists, motorcyclists and other non-stated individuals. According to the statistics, the most fatalities included drivers with 51.5%, followed by passengers at 21.6% and then pedestrians at 13.3%.
Thanks to a number of incentives taken by the government with the introduction of Road Safety Strategy (RSS) and other similar programs, the numbers of accidents, fatalities and injuries have reduced in recent times, but a lot more still needs to be done. With all the technological advancements and road safety programs, road traffic accidents are on the way of becoming a thing of the past. But a lot more needs to be done until that really happens.
The Declining Numbers
Territorial, provincial and federal governments in Canada have worked very hard to reduce the number of serious injuries and fatalities in Canada and make efforts to make the roads the safest in the world. While the latter goal has yet not been achieved, efforts have been made to drastically improve road safety in the county. 2011 had marked the first year where the fatality rate per 10,000 vehicles had fallen below 1.0. Canada has made significant progress and has succeeded in achieving its goals of lesser fatalities, injuries and overall road accidents. Following are some of the most common reasons for traffic accidents in Canada:
According to a report by the Traffic Injury Research Foundation, 331 teenagers aged between 15 and 19 and 365 young adults aged between 20 and 24 died in road crashes in 2002 in Canada. Road crashes are one of the leading causes of death among young people with 35% of deaths between 15 and 19 year olds and 30% of deaths of those between 20 and 24 year olds were due to road accidents.
This report shows that young drivers, between the ages of 16 and 24, have higher fatality rates compared to older drivers with the highest per-distance and per-driver fatality rates found among teenage drivers aged between 16 and 19. We have seen a positive decline in fatalities and road accidents among young adults, but it is imperative that necessary steps are taken to ensure that younger people drive more carefully and responsibly. One of the major reasons for higher fatalities in younger adults is due to aggressive driving. Around 40% of speeding drivers involved in fatal crashes were aged between 16 and 24 years.
Speeding, tailgating, running red lights, failing to yield right of way and weaving in and out of traffic are some of the many behaviours that account for aggressive driving. According to statistics, collisions account for 27% of fatalities and 19% of serious injuries. In recent years, speed-related serious injuries have increased.
In most cases, the drivers killed in crashes related to speeding were the ones speeding and 80% of young adult passengers that were killed due to speeding were in the vehicle with an individual of similar age. Most of the young adults involved in these crashes were speeding on urban roads.
Measures to Reduce Aggressive Driving
Wearing seatbelts and speed cameras have really helped control the problem to a large extent. It shows that serious injuries and fatalities have reduced by 42% in locations with speed cameras. However, more still needs to be done and measures need to be taken in order to ensure that the problem is further controlled, especially when it comes to younger drivers. Raising fines for speeding and demerit points could help further reduce incidents of speeding and other forms of aggressive driving.
Alcohol is another major contributor of traffic accident incidences. Drivers with more than 80mg of alcohol in 100 millimetres of blood, often referred to as 80mg% or .08, are considered driving impaired by alcohol. It is a criminal offence to be driving while drunk, as outlined in the Criminal Code of Canada. In 2008, 40% of fatally injured drivers had been drinking alcohol before the collision.
Tougher penalties like a 10-year sentence for causing harm while drunk, a $1000 fine for a first offence, 30 days in jail for second and 120 days in jail for the third have all helped somewhat control traffic accidents due to alcohol.
Random Breath Testing (RBT) laws in various countries have helped control the problem where the police have the authority to stop a car randomly and demand the driver to provide a breath test. Similar laws in Canada can also be helpful in countering the problem. Other possible steps include tracking administrative licence suspensions on driver records so that repeat offenders can be quickly identified and streamlining procedures for processing drunk drivers can also be helpful.
Other FactorsThese are some of the major causes of road accidents in Canada. Other reasons include:
- Drugs, including illegal ones like marijuana and over-the-counter ones like cold remedies;
- Distracted driving which include use of GPS Systems, cell phones, laptops, MP3 players, CD and DVD players, reading maps, eating or drinking, talking to passengers, tending to children or pets and/or looking at billboards or street signs.
- Fatigue is another contributing cause of traffic accidents. Wandering or disconnected thoughts, closing eyes for ‘just a moment’, braking too late, phasing out and blinking and/or yawning frequently can all be fatal.
Vulnerable Road Users
Pedestrians, motorcycles, bicyclists and mopeds are all included in vulnerable road users as they have very little protection if struck by a vehicle. Vulnerable road users account for around a quarter of all traffic fatalities in Canada. 75% of pedestrian traffic fatalities occurred on urban roads, 60% of these pedestrians were killed during dim light conditions or at night and around 40% of fatally injured pedestrians were drunk at the time of the accident. Needless to say, better pedestrian protection and safety laws are required to reduce these numbers.
Traffic accidents are a global concern. One small mishap can easily topple the lives of an entire family. It is highly important that all possible measures are taken individually, at state level and globally in order to make the roads completely safe for not just drivers, but also passengers and pedestrians. Canada has shown incredible improvement in road safety in the past few decades with an impressive 60% reduction in fatalities. But even after this improvement, a person is admitted every 90 minutes to a hospital and dies every four hours due to traffic collisions. Needless to say, there is still a long way to go before we could call traffic accidents a thing of the past.