Distracted driving remains a serious problem in Canada despite increased penalties and aggressive public messaging from law enforcement, safety advocates, government agencies, and personal injury lawyers. The growing scope of the issue was recently highlighted by statistics released by Aviva Canada, a national insurance company.
According to an Aviva release, the company has seen a “trend of increased claims linked to distracted driving” since 2016. Twenty-three per cent more distracted driving claims were received in 2018 than in 2016 nationwide, driven by a 58 per cent increase in Alberta and 34 per cent increase in Québec.
In Ontario, claims increased by 12 per cent. Local personal injury lawyers will be disappointed to learn that claims jumped 18 per cent in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).
“Despite increased penalties and awareness on this issue, too many Canadians are still driving distracted behind the wheel,” said Aviva Canada’s Chief Underwriting Officer, Phil Gibson, in the release. “The majority of these accidents are preventable – such as hitting stationary objects, rear ending other vehicles and inattentive lane changes.”
If an accompanying public opinion poll issued by Aviva is any indication, Canadians are profoundly aware of the dangers of distracted driving: 95 per cent of respondents confirmed that motorists who text and drive make them feel unsafe, and 78 per cent said they would support a technological solution to the issue, such as phones being automatically disabled while behind the wheel.
To date, all efforts to curtail distracted driving in Canada have been ineffective. Despite awareness of the risks and aggressive policing, drivers don’t seem able to put away their phones while on the road. It may be that only time can change this dangerous behaviour.
“People need to come to the realization that distracted driving causes all the damage, all the lives lost and all the hurt in society that impaired driving causes,” Calgary Police Service Sgt. Dale Seddon told CTV News Calgary following the Aviva release. “The two equate to each other just like that and even though distracted driving is newer, if you will, than impaired driving it causes all the catastrophe that impaired driving does.”
If you have been injured in a car accident involving distracted driving or any other form of negligence, contact the personal injury lawyers at Will Davidson LLP’s Oakville office to learn how we can help. Our experienced, understanding team can assess the validity of your personal injury claim and suggest appropriate next steps. Call us today at 1 (866) 503 8757 to arrange a free legal consultation.
Image credit: frankieleon/Flickr