Distracted Driving: The New DUI?

You’re a good driver. You would never want to cause a motor vehicle accident. You would never get behind the wheel after a couple glasses of wine. You would never pull out of your driveway without your glasses. So surely you wouldn’t check your cell phone while on the road. After all, like driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, distracted driving is dangerous, not to mention illegal. Yet distracted driving is shockingly common.

What Is Distracted Driving?

What Is Distracted Driving - Personal Injury LawyerAccording to the RCMP, distracted driving “is a form of impaired driving as a driver’s judgment is compromised when they are not fully focused on the road.” Distracted driving means not having your full attention to the road and traffic, even at a stoplight. This includes activities such as:

  • using your phone to talk, text, changing podcasts, or check maps;
  • eating, reading, doing your hair;
  • changing GPS directions; and
  • breaking up a fight between your kids in the backseat.

The Costs of Your Eyes Off the Road

According to the Province of Ontario’s website, drivers using a phone are four times more likely to cause an accident than a properly focused driver. The Province’s website also notes that deaths from distracted driving collisions have doubled in the last 16 years. Furthermore, according to the CAA, texting while driving makes you 23 times more likely to be involved or nearly involved in a collision. If you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident make sure you check out our Dos and Don’ts of Motor Vehicle Accidents.

Distracted Driving and the Law

While specific rules and penalties vary from province to province, it is illegal to use hand-held electronics while driving. This includes your mobile phone, GPS, E-reader and any other portable electronic device. Even holding a cellphone while driving is against the law. Hands-free and mounted devices like Bluetooths and GPS navigation systems, however, are permissible.

Distracted Driving Offences in Ontario

Penalties for distracted driving also vary from one province to the next and are dependent on a variety of other factors such as your licence and how long you have been driving. If you are convicted of a distracted driving offence in Ontario you could face:

  • three demerit points;
  • a fine of up to $490 if you settle the matter out of court;
  • a fine of up to $1,000 if you contest your ticket in court and lose; or
  • a 30 to 90-day licence suspension if you have a learner’s permit.

Distracted Driving Offences in Ontario - KCY at LAW

Avoiding Driving Distractions

Being prepared for your trip, however short or long, is the best way to stay focused when you are on the road. Plan your route and set up your GPS or other navigation device before you leave. Have your playlists or CDs cued and ready to go so you are not trying to find just the right tune when you should be checking your blind spot. Set up voice control on your mobile devices. Ask passengers to handle any incoming calls or texts. Better yet, take the opportunity to disconnect and turn your phone off altogether. Be present in the moment and devote your full attention to the road and your surroundings.

If you do need to use your phone, including in the case of an emergency, first safely pull your vehicle over to the side of the road and put on your hazard lights.

Distracted Driver Motor Vehicle Accident Experts

If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident involving a distracted driver, call us at (905) 639-0999 today or contact us online to book your consultation. KCY at LAW are experienced personal injury lawyers with the expertise and compassion to help you get the settlement you deserve.

Dos and Don’ts After a Motor Vehicle Accident

Being in a car accident is always a trying ordeal. Whether you’ve been in a fender bender in a parking lot or a multi-car collision on the 403, the following dos and don’ts can help you to properly deal with the aftermath of a motor vehicle accident.

What To Do After A Motor Vehicle Accident

What To Do After a Motor Vehicle Accident - KCY at LAW Personal Injury LawyerRemain Calm. There are undoubtedly a thousand things rushing through your head immediately following a motor vehicle accident, but the first thing you should do is take a deep breath and try to remain focused and composed.

Stop. It is imperative that if you are involved in a collision that you stop your vehicle as quickly and safely as possible.

Call 911 if: anyone is injured, the damage to vehicles appears to be over $1,000, or you suspect an involved driver to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Follow the emergency operator’s instructions and wait for police or paramedic assistance.

Document. Use your phone or camera to take pictures of the collision site and vehicle damage. Also jot down as many details about the situation as possible.

Move Your Vehicle. If it is safe to do so, move your vehicle out of traffic. If it is not driveable, put on your hazard lights and use flares to signal your situation to other drivers.

Exchange Information. Be sure to get the name, address, insurance information, phone number, licence plate and drivers licence numbers of each other driver involved in the incident. Additionally, get the names and phone numbers of any witnesses to the crash.

Report. You must also report the accident to your insurance company as soon as possible whether or not you were at fault.

Call your Lawyer. If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident it is important that you contact a personal injury lawyer that can help you to get the coverage you deserve. You can call KCY at LAW and we will get the process underway on your behalf.

Bonus: Be prepared for emergencies on the road by equipping your vehicle with a first aid kit, warning triangles or cones, and accident worksheet.

What Not To Do After A Motor Vehicle Accident

Move an Injured Person. You may unintentionally cause further injury so wait for paramedics.

Argue. Save your breath and resist arguing with other drivers or passengers. Stay calm and share your story with police when they arrive.

Offer to Cover Damages. Never assume liability at the scene of the accident. Wait to speak with your lawyer.

Accept Payment at the Scene. If you are not at fault, accepting a cash offer may be tempting but reporting the accident will not affect your driving record.

What Not To Do After A Motor Vehicle Accident - KCY at LAW - Personal Injury Lawyers

Expert Motor Vehicle Accident Lawyers

If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident call KCY at LAW to schedule an appointment with an experienced personal injury lawyer. Call us on (905) 639-0999 or contact us online for your free consultation.

Winter Sports Injuries

Winter is here and while cozying up with a hot chocolate is a great fireside activity, the best way to enjoy a snowy day is to be out in it. Winter sports like skiing and snowboarding are great ways to have fun and stay fit through our long Canadian winters. They can be, however, dangerous activities and personal injuries can be costly.

Winter Sports Injuries

According to the 2009 report The Economic Burden of Injury in Canada, winter activities are responsible for over 70,000 unintentional injuries in Canada annually. Nearly 1,400 of these winter injuries result in partial or permanent disability as well as $400 million in direct and indirect costs to Canadians.

winter-sport-injuries-in-canada-kcy-at-law

The Alpine Responsibility Code

In the case of an accident with other recreationists (a fellow skier or snowboarder) there must be evidence that negligence on the part of the other party is responsible for your injury in order to successfully file a lawsuit. Alpine sports are inherently risky and so it is only if another person failed to act with reasonable care that they may be liable for damages. There are no specific laws for what constitutes reckless behaviour on the slopes but the Alpine Responsibility Code is a good starting point to determine if someone’s actions were acceptable.

the-alpine-responsibility-code-kcy-at-lawThe main tenants of the Code are:

  • Always stay in control
  • Always be able to stop
  • People downhill have the right of way
  • Do not obstruct paths
  • Remain visible from uphill
  • Yield uphill when merging onto a trail

Accordingly, in the event of a collision between two beginners colliding on a Green Circle run it is unlikely that the accident would be considered to have resulted from negligence. By contrast, an advanced skier who is barrelling down an icy Green Circle slope and causes an accident while weaving through beginners may be considered reckless and therefore liable for damages.

What To Do If Injured During Winter Sports

If you are injured in an accident with another skier or snowboarder it is important that you, or a friend or family member, get the name and contact information of the person with whom you collided. You should also try to get contact information from any witnesses to the accident. Lastly, be sure to take as many pictures of the accident site as possible.

Experts in Winter Sports Injury Cases

If you have been injured at a winter sports resort, KCY at LAW are here to advise you of your legal options. We are experienced in gathering the necessary evidence to get you the compensation you deserve. Call us today at (905) 639-0999 or contact us online for more info!