OPP Says 2022 Was the Deadliest Year for Drivers in a Decade
During the once-in-a-decade winter weather event that swept its way across the province in December 2022, more than 500 collisions were reported throughout Ontario. It was a stark reminder of the importance of caution on our province’s roads and highways, not just during inclement weather, but in all conditions.
If you have been feeling increasingly unsafe while driving in Ontario, you are not alone. According to a recent report commissioned by CAA, 98% of the province’s motorists witnessed unsafe driving behaviours within the last year. This research also shows that fewer drivers feel safe operating their motor vehicles in Ontario, especially on high-speed highways. The study suggests that the increased incidences of stunt driving, driver distraction, and general recklessness might be attributed to traffic returning to pre-pandemic levels. However, with more drivers on the road than we have gotten used to over the past few years, it has never been more important to exercise caution behind the wheel.
The negligence of other drivers puts all road-users at risk. And when the unthinkable happens, innocent drivers, passengers, motorcycle riders, cyclists, and pedestrians can be seriously injured, or even killed.
According to the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), 2022 has been the deadliest year on the province’s roads and highways in a decade. Unlike the majority of accidents that occurred during this most recent winter storm, most of the collisions that occurred over the course of the year were not weather-related. Instead, it was the negligent actions of unsafe drivers that caused hundreds of Ontarians to lose their lives.
In just the first nine months of 2022, fatal collisions on the province’s roads and highways have increased by almost a quarter. Based on the findings released by the OPP, this 24% increase in deadly car accidents can be attributed to drivers “consciously making bad decisions behind the wheel and failing to take seriously their enormous responsibility to drive and share the road safely.”
The first hundred collision-related deaths of 2022 happened within the first five months of the year. To date, the last time that shocking number was reached so early in the year was a full decade ago in 2012. At a rate like that, it is easy to appreciate why more and more Ontarians feel like they are taking their lives in their hands when they get behind the wheel.
Now more than ever, it is important to exercise caution and patience on the road. Negligent drivers can come out of nowhere, and it is important to be prepared for an encounter with one.
The Leading Causes of Deadly Car Accidents
In 2021, the Government of Ontario passed new legislation to help curb the rise of stunt driving. The Moving Ontarians More Safely (MOMS) Act imposes harsher penalties on motorists who radically exceed the posted speed limit on the province’s roads and highways. But despite facing more stringent punishments such as vehicle impoundment, demerit point accrual, and license suspensions, over the course of just two months in 2022, in the Greater Toronto Area alone, more than 400 stunt driving charges were laid.
Excessive speeding is extremely dangerous. According to the OPP, speeding was the leading cause of fatal car accidents in the last year.
Other forms of driver negligence appear to be on the rise, as well. There were dozens of deadly collisions caused by impaired driving and distracted driving. In fact, in 2022, there was a 79% year-over-year increase in fatal car accidents caused by distracted driving.
Even small mistakes or lapses in judgment while driving can have serious consequences. It is the responsibility of all drivers to operate their vehicles safely and responsibly to help prevent fatal accidents on the road. If a driver’s behaviour falls below the standard of care that a reasonably cautious person would use while operating a motor vehicle, they could be considered negligent. Negligent drivers could be liable for damages incurred by the injured survivors of the collisions they caused, or by the bereaved family members of their accidents’ wrongfully deceased victims.
Contact our Personal Injury lawyers If You or a Loved One Have Been Injured In an Accident
At Preszler Injury Lawyers, our personal injury lawyers have been representing clients across Ontario since 1959. Contact our law firm for a free initial consultation, contact us online or call 1-800-JUSTICE.