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The Leading Causes of Car Accidents in Ontario

By Matt Lalande in Accident Benefits (SABS), Car Accidents on December 26, 2022

The Leading Causes of Car Accidents in Ontario

The sudden, inexplicable serious injury or wrongful death of a loved one in a car accident can be very difficult on the injured person and his or her family. Families often have no opportunity to prepare themselves emotionally, have limited experience with such catastrophic events, and are overwhelmed by the magnitude of their loved one’s injuries. While no amount of money can rewind the event that changed your life, our lawyers firmly believe that holding the negligent party responsible for the wrongful death of your loved one and forcing the payment of financial compensation to your family may provide the sense of closure needed to move forward.

At Lalande Personal Injury Lawyers, every wrongful death case as a result from a car accident in Ontario is unique in its own right. However, understanding some of the most common causes of accident-related fatalities is important, and are good to keep in mind as you and your loved ones prepare to head out on the roads safely.

Car Accidents Worldwide

The World Health Organization (WHO) reported in 2022 that over 1.3 million people die every year due to car accidents, more than other causes of death such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined. Car accidents resulting in death is the leading cause of death worldwide for those 29 years old and under, according to the Association for Safe International Road Travel (ASIRT), with motor vehicle accidents being the leading cause of death worldwide for this specific age group.

Despite deaths by car accidents dropping year on year as a result of improved seatbelt technology and education programs, car accidents remain one of the leading causes of death in Canada. In the year 2020, there were over 72,000 car accidents that resulted in personal injury – meaning that someone was either seriously injured or killed – out of which there were 1,745 deaths. In Ontario, there were 23,689 car accidents that resulted in personal injury, which accounted for 505 deaths as the result of car accidents. The majority of those killed – 342 in total – were drivers, and the second largest demographic of victims were pedestrians, with 116 losing their lives in car accidents.

Cases of car accidents that resulted in personal injury spiked in the traditionally wintery months of January and February, but were significantly elevated from August until November, which had an average rate of over 55 fatal car accidents per month, compared to an average of 35 for the rest of the year.

What are the leading causes of car accidents? 

According to the Statistics Canada, the top five causes of car accidents in Canada are negligence, impaired driving, distracted driving, speeding, and aggressive driving. Negligent driving is by far the most common cause, accounting for 42% of all car accidents. Impaired driving is responsible for 25% of car crashes while distracted driving accounts for 19%. Speeding is responsible for 12%, while aggressive driving makes up the remaining 2%. Below are different causes of car accidents in Hamilton that we often see:

Negligent Drivers: sadly, car accidents in Hamilton and throughout Canada caused by negligent drivers happen far too often. If you or a loved one has been injured in such an accident, you may be wondering what your legal options are. Negligent driving is a major cause of car accidents in Canada. Negligence can take many forms, from simply not paying attention, from distracted driving to drunk or drowsy driving to speeding or disregarding traffic lights and rules. All these behaviors increase the risk of an accident, which is why it’s important for drivers to be aware of their own and other drivers’ actions behind the wheel so they can reduce the risk of being involved in a collision.

What is a negligent motorist exactly? Driver negligence is a term that is used to describe when a motorist fails to act in a responsible manner in a specific situation.Negligence is the doing of something which a reasonably prudent person would not do or the failure to do something that a reasonably prudent person would do under circumstances similar to those shown by the evidence. Negligence is determined relative to the circumstances. The standard of care is measured by the conduct of the average person. The law does not define what a reasonably careful person would do in those circumstances; that is for a judge or jury to decide.

Drinking and Impaired Driving: did you know that impaired driving has been an offence since 1921? Although statistics have improved over the past several decades, driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs remains one of the most prominent factors contributing to serious car accidents. Statistically, most impaired drivers that cause fatality-related accidents are males (80%) and between the ages of 20 and 24.  In 2020, law enforcement reported 77,600 cases of impaired driving across Canada. Alcohol, or drugs such as cannabis, can seriously affect your coordination and how you react in a motor vehicle, and continue to be road killers all these years later.

Impaired driving is a serious issue that can lead to devastating consequences. It not only risks the lives of the driver and passengers in the vehicle, but also those on the road around them. Whether it be due to alcohol, drugs, or lack of sleep, impaired driving contributes to a significant number of car accidents that cause serious injury and even death. It’s important for all drivers to understand the importance of making sure they are sober before getting behind the wheel.

Medical Conditions: a significant amount of car accidents are caused by drivers that suffer from medical conditions such as depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, poor vision etc. If a negligent driver has a medical diagnosis that requires medication and does not take that medication, this could affect liability. For example, in a case in California several years ago, a very popular pizza franchise hired a driver to deliver pizza. That driver caused a major car accident that killed a young woman and catastrophically injured another. The pizza franchise knowingly hired but failed to discuss with the driver whether or not he suffered a medical condition that affected his driving. That driver took medication that made him drowsy, and unfortunately, he caused an accident that ruined a young girl’s life. The driver and the pizza franchise were held liable for the young girl’s terrible injuries caused by the car accident. A driver can no doubt be found liable for an accident if the driver is supposed to take medication and doesn’t takes medication at the wrong time, takes too much medication, takes the wrong medication, or doesn’t wear his or her required glasses.

Vehicle Maintenance: Drivers must maintain their vehicles to be mechanically fit and safe while driving on our roadways. If it’s found that a car accident is caused due to bald tires, bad breaks, or any type of other mechanical malfunction that could have been taken care of sooner, both the driver and the owner of the car can be found liable. It is the car’s owner’s responsibility to maintain his or her vehicle.

Distracted Driving: has surpassed impaired driving as the leading killer on Ontario’s roads. Even though impaired driving continues to be legitimate danger to drivers, the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) has made it clear that distracted drivers are responsible for more fatal collisions in Ontario than impaired drivers. Distracted driving can be anything from eating, drinking, programming a navigation device, checking applications on your phone, brushing your hair, or – most commonly – using a smartphone while driving. Too many Ontario drivers think they can successfully multitask on their smartphones while maneuvering a 4,000-pound car – which unfortunately leads to too many Ontario car accidents. Although it might not seem like a big deal compared to drinking and driving, the consequences for the people around you – as well as the legal penalties – can be life-changing and extremely serious.

Running Stop Signs and Amber/Red Lights: This one is obvious. In our practice, most serious car accidents are caused by drivers not obeying stop signs or running red lights. Many of these crashes, which happen when drivers fail to stop at a stop sign or red light, involve left turns. Almost 40% of all accidents in the United States involve left-turn accidents when drivers fail to obey traffic signals. These types of accidents can no doubt cause brutal catastrophic injuries, especially if the driver or passenger in a car is hit by not faulty driver at high speed.

Aggressive Driving, Street Racing and Stunt Driving: Aggressive driving is a major contributor to dangerous car accidents. It can include speeding, tailgating, weaving in and out of lanes, making illegal turns, ignoring traffic signals and signs, or displaying road rage. Aggressive drivers take risks that put themselves and other drivers at risk of serious injury due to their recklessness. If you are behind the wheel and find yourself getting angry or agitated, it’s best to pull over and take some deep breaths before continuing on your journey. Driving is a responsibility that should be taken seriously in order to protect yourself and those around you. Stay alert and remain calm while driving: it could save your life or someone else’s!

Aggresive driving is defined as a group of activities including illegal street racing and related stunt driving, aggressive driving have been consistently linked to the increased risk of fatal car accidents in Ontario. Based upon any number of studies done by the Ontario Ministry of Transportation over the years, speed is always a determinant and critical factor in many fatal crashes – mostly on congested urban roadways. As the speed of the vehicle increases, so does the risk of a crash and fatality. Ontario law has long been clear that drivers that driving 50 km/h over the posted speed limit are considered to be performing a stunt and are subject to harsh penalties, including:

  • 30-day license suspension
  • 14-day vehicle impoundment (regardless of whether or not the offender owns the vehicle or not)
  • jail term of up to 6 months
  • 6 demerit points on their record

If convicted of speed racing and stunt driving, drivers can face hefty fines between $2000 and $10,000 (which is more than impaired driving – a first offence typically results in a $1000.00 to $1500.00 fine and a one-year driving suspension) and a Court ordered licence suspension from 2 years to 10 years.

Driving while Fatigued: Feeling fatigued while driving is something that some drivers may have experienced on the occasional overnight drive out of province, but this factor is most significant for long-haul truckers. The province has estimated that close to 20% of fatal accidents are caused by fatigued drivers. Fatigue can compromised decision-making ability, reaction time and speed of thought, in other words, the same symptoms as being impaired by alcohol or drugs. If you’re tired and travelling, please pull over and reduce the probability of a car accident. There are signs that car drivers can look out for:

  • yawning frequently
  • blinking frequently
  • heavy eyes
  • closing eyes
  • your vision wandering out of focus
  • disconnected thinking
  • realizing that you have changed speed unintentionally
  • your braking reaction time is slowed
  • your inability to recall driving the last few kilometres
  • drifting to either side of the road

For truckers especially, taking well-deserved breaks from driving could lower the risk of fatigue-related car accidents – and save lives. In Canada, truckers will average about 11.5 hours of driving each day, which is a challenging run even with regular rest breaks to help reduce car accidents caused by fatigue. To keep up with customer’s demands and sometimes even their own company’s pressure, truckers may try to push their own limits and tolerance by trying to stay awake – sometimes at the cost of endangering other motorists.

Types of Serious Car accidents

Side Impacts or T-Bone Accidents: A t-bone or side impact car accident is a type of crash in which the front of one vehicle crashes into the side of another vehicle. This type of accident often occurs when one driver fails to yield at an intersection, when a driver runs a stop sign or red light, or when two vehicles are attempting to pass each other in opposite directions on a single lane road. These types of accidents can be particularly dangerous due to the lack of protection from the side that is impacted and can severely damage both cars involved, resulting in severe injuries for those inside.

Recently, Allstate insurance has reported that, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in the US, approximately 27% of all car accidents are caused by T-bone type collisions. T-bone crashes normally, in all circumstances, happen when an at-fault driver fails to stop at a red light, or stop sign, enters an intersection and smashes into a vehicle that has the right of way. The accident often leaves cracks and victims with very serious injuries:

  • hip fractures
  • femur fractures
  • tibial plateau fractures
  • nerve injuries
  • spinal cord injuries
  • serious neck injuries
  • serious back injuries, including disc herniation and disc bulges
  • fractured humerus
  • elbow injuries
  • fractured radius and ulna.

Head-on Collisions: A head-on collision is an accident that occurs when two vehicles traveling in opposite directions collide with one another. This type of crash is particularly dangerous due to the force of the impact and can sometimes cause catastrophic injuries. Head-on collisions often occur as a result of drivers driving on the wrong side of the road, driver fatigue or distraction, or excessive speed. The consequences of a head-on collision can be devastating, including costly medical bills, property damage, and even wrongful death lawsuits. Head-on collisions often result in life-changing injuries and in most circumstances, death.

Rollover Crash: A rollover accident is a type of crash that occurs when a vehicle turns over onto its side or roof. This type of accident can occur for a variety of reasons, including excessive speed, driver distraction, and even improper tire inflation. Rollover accidents are particularly dangerous due to the potential for occupant ejection from the vehicle and the high risk of serious injuries or fatalities. It is essential for drivers to maintain proper tire pressure, always wear seatbelts, and be aware of their surroundings when operating motor vehicles in order to reduce the risk of rollover accidents.

Rear-End Collisions – are among the most common types of car accidents, but they can be extremely dangerous and result in serious injuries. Victims of a serious rear-end accident may suffer head injuries, neck and back strain or sprain, broken bones, organ damage, whiplash, herniated discs, soft tissue damage, spinal cord injuries, or even paralysis. In addition to physical injuries, victims of rear-end collisions often experience emotional trauma such as anxiety and depression. It is important for those who have been injured in this kind of accident to seek proper medical care immediately and to consult with an experienced Hamilton car accident lawyer to ensure that they receive the compensation they deserve.

Aggressive and Speed Related Accidents: drivers that not only speed – but drivers that try to beat red lights, tail-gait unnecessarily, weave through traffic and fail to yield the right of way to oncoming drivers are among some of the reported behaviors which have reportedly caused fatal accidents in Ontario. Most car accidents caused by aggressive driving are caused by drivers who are between 16 and 24 years of age, alcohol and accidents on urban roads – with most accidents occurring in intersections (40% of all intersection fatality accidents involve a driver failing to yield the right of way or disobeying a traffic sign or signal!) 

Have you suffered life-changing injuries in a car accident? Call our Hamilton Car Accident Lawyers today.

If a loved one has suffered life-changing injuries in a car accident due to the negligence of an individual or company, take the time to talk to learn your rights.  Our Hamilton Car Accident Lawyers understand that terrible injuries or the sudden death of a loved one can tear a family apart and cause in-explainable grief.  We understand that you will have many unanswered questions. We understand that the financial struggle for a family can take hold right away, and as many find out – the true cost of a can be economically devastating.

Our Hamilton Car Accident Lawyers understand what you’re going through. The law and procedures surrounding car accidents in Ontario are very complicated. Our car accident law firm in Hamilton will explain your rights and responsibilities and help you determine the best course of action for you and your family. Taking legal action may be the furthest thing from your mind, but it is vital that you educate and inform yourself of your legal options. Call us local in Soutern Ontario at 905-333-8888 or no matter where you are in Ontario, toll free, at 1-844-LALANDE. Alternatively, you can chat with our live website operator 24/7 or fill out a contact form through our website, and someone from our office will get back to you within 24 hours.

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Five Quick FAQ

What are the most common types of car accidents in Ontario?

In Ontario, the most common type of car accident is a rear-end collision. These accidents happen when one vehicle drives into the back of another vehicle. Other common types of car accidents in Ontario include head-on collisions, sideswipe or T-bone collisions, and single-vehicle accidents that occur due to road conditions such as slippery surfaces or potholes.

What can a car accident lawyer do for me?

A Hamilton car accident lawyer can help recover the compensation that you and your family deserve, and help guide you through the no-fault benefit system – which is extremely complicated.

Is talking to a car accident lawyer free?

Talking with our car accident lawyers is 100% free. We will take as long as you need, and

How common are rear-end collisions in Ontario?

Rear-end collisions are one of the most common types of car accidents in Ontario. According to research from the Insurance Bureau of Canada, rear-end collisions account for 33% of all motor vehicle collisions in the province. In many cases, these crashes occur due to drivers following too closely or failing to react quickly enough when traffic conditions change. It is important to always leave a safe distance between you and the vehicle ahead so that you have time to react in case something unexpected happens on the road.

How do I hire the right car accident lawyer?

If you’ve been involved in a car accident, hiring the right car accident lawyer is essential. When looking for a lawyer, it’s important to do research and read reviews. You should also make sure to look for lawyers who specialize in car accidents and have experience dealing with insurance companies. Additionally, you should interview potential Hamilton car accident lawyers over the phone or in person to determine if they are the right fit for your case. Finally, be sure to ask about fees before signing on with any particular lawyer.

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