As Ontario car accident lawyers, the team at Will Davidson LLP keeps a close eye on road safety issues around the province, particularly in Toronto, where fatal collisions among vulnerable road users (cyclists and pedestrians) have increased alongside the city’s population. A recent accident near the intersection of Yonge St and Eglinton Ave in Midtown epitomized the issue while simultaneously shedding light on a serious but neglected problem.
According to the Toronto Star, 54-year-old Evangeline Lauroza was struck and killed by a cement truck at Yonge and Erskine Ave, three blocks north of Eglington, on September 10. Toronto’s Midtown has been a hotbed of construction for several years. There are numerous high-rise buildings under development and crews are working on the Eglinton Crosstown LRT, a multi-billion-dollar public transit project. The result is chaos at street level: roads are narrowed, exits are blocked, and commuters, pedestrians, and cyclists are forced to share space with large industrial vehicles.
As of the Star’s September 12 article, nine of the 26 pedestrian fatalities in Toronto were caused by collisions involving large trucks. The article also cites analysis by University of Windsor researcher Beth-Anne Schuelke-Leech, who found that 10.6 per cent of pedestrian fatalities between 2007 and 2017 involved large trucks, despite these accidents accounting for just 4.8 per cent of collisions overall. Additionally, the research showed that 37.6 per cent of serious collisions involving trucks during that time period were fatal, compared to just 15.9 per cent involving other vehicles.
“Trucks are undeniably more dangerous to (pedestrians and cyclists) in a collision when compared to other vehicle types,” Schuelke-Leech told the Star.
Ontario car accident lawyers are familiar with the dangers posed by large vehicles, both in downtown settings and on highways. The question is: what can be done to reduce truck accidents and the fatalities associated with them.
What is Being Done to Address Truck Accidents in Toronto?
In 2017, the Government of Ontario announced that drivers must undergo more than 100 hours of safety training before being eligible for a commercial truck license. Since then, the government has also introduced a strict no tolerance policy regarding drug- and alcohol-impaired truck-driving.
The City of Toronto has been less proactive. Its ambitious – and so-far ineffective – Vision Zero road safety strategy does not specifically address risks posed by large commercial vehicles. However, the city does have certain restrictions in place.
“Heavy vehicles are prohibited on certain streets and at certain times – on some streets only during overnight and on some streets at all times,” City of Toronto spokesperson Hakeem Muhammad told the Star.
“Commercial vehicles are large, heavy, full of sight line challenges,” he added. “Any time these vehicles are operated in areas used by vulnerable road users there is a risk to safety.”
However, these rules include exemptions: if there is no other way for a commercial vehicle to access a work site, they may use roads on which they would otherwise by prohibited.
City councilors in downtown wards have called for action to reduce accidents involving large commercial vehicles. Several have asked for a hiatus on development approvals in Midtown until more effective safety measures can be established. One downtown councilor also requested that smaller vehicles be used as garbage trucks, fire trucks, and ambulances, a strategy that has already been adopted in nearby Hamilton.
What to Do if You’ve Been in a Truck Accident
If you’ve been injured in an accident involving a large commercial vehicle, you may be entitled to compensation through a personal injury or insurance claim. Contact an experienced personal injury lawyer to discuss your options. Accidents involving commercial vehicles can be quite complex, not only because they result in devastating injuries but because questions around liability may arise.
For example, some commercial vehicle accidents are caused by faulty equipment or improperly secured payloads. Is the driver of the vehicle solely responsible in these cases? Is the company or organization that owns the vehicle liable? Should the manufacturer share the blame? Accidents involving city-owned vehicles can be similarly complex.
What is clear is that if you’ve been seriously injured in a truck accident through not fault of your own, you deserve compensation for the damages you have suffered. Serious personal injuries can lead to lengthy recoveries and long-term disabilities; a personal injury claim can help address financial challenges and ensure access to necessary medical and rehabilitative care.
For more information about pursuing a personal injury claim, contact Will Davidson LLP to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. Our team of experienced Ontario car accident lawyers will review your case and provide advice as you consider your options.
Will Davidson LLP provides personal injury representation on a contingency basis, which means we do not charge legal fees until your claim has been successfully resolved. When your compensation is secured, our team will accept a percentage of your total compensation as payment.