What are the leading causes of traffic fatalities in Ontario?



The sudden, inexplicable death of a loved one in a fatal car accident can tear a family completely apart. While no amount of money can bring back your deceased loved one(s), our Hamilton wrongful death 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.  In our practice, every wrongful death case in Ontario is different – however there are several leading and common causes of accident related fatalities that are certainly worth noting.

Over 2700 people die in car crashes in Canada every year – with a significant amount being from Ontario… but how does it break down?

In 2016, there were approximately 35,972 accidents on Ontario alone – with just under 500 deaths involved.  Seniors citizen (65+) was by far the largest age group of traffic fatalities with a total of 446 deaths, the next being ages 25 to 35, with a total of 321 deaths. Actual drivers of vehicle were by far the most killed on our roadways, followed by passengers, then pedestrians, motorcyclists then bicyclists. Most traffic fatalities (over 3/4) occurred in urban areas and during the summer months!

What are the leading causes road fatalities in Ontario?

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 causing death. Statistically, most impaired drivers that cause fatality related accidents are males (80%) and between the ages of 20 and 24.  Alcohol,  or drugs sch as cannabis, can no doubt affect your your coordination and how you react in a motor vehicle – and are still road killers.

Distracted driving collisions

Inattentive driving has surpassed impaired driving as the leading killer on Ontario’s roads. The OPP made it clear earlier this year that distracted drivers were behind more fatal collisions in Ontario than impaired drivers. Distracted driving can be anything from eating, drinking, programming a navigation device, checking the google maps on your phone, brushing your hair – or most commonly –  using a smart phone while driving. Too many Ontario drivers think they can successfully multitask on their smartphones while they maneuver a 4,000-pound car – which unfortunately leads to too many Ontario car accidents.

Speed related collisions

Illegal street racing and related stunt driving has 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 the risk of fatality. Ontario law has long been clear that drivers that drive over 50 km/h the posted speed limit are considered to be performing a stunt and are subject to harsh penalties:

  • 7 day licence suspension
  • 7 day vehicle impoundment (regardless if the offender owns the vehicle or not
  • 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.
Drivers/passengers not wearing seatbelts.

For the past 15 years the Province has publicized that seat belts, worn correctly, can reduce the chance of dying in a car accident by up to 47%!  Luckily, the efforts of OPP, local police and other road safety advocates and educational methods have been highly instrumental in raising seatbelt safety awareness in Ontario over the past 25 years. It’s estimated that 96% of drivers in Ontario now wear seatbelts (compared to only 78.1% in the Yukon). A large portion of road fatalities, both driver and passenger, are still however linked to individuals not wearing a seatbelt restraints from 78 in 2012, 45 in 2016.

Driving Impaired by Fatigue

The province has estimated that close to 20% of fatal accidents are caused by fatigued drivers. If you’re tired and travelling, please pullover and reduce the probability of a car accident. there is no doubt that driving while tired impairs reaction time and judgment. Some of the signs of needing a rest while driving are:

    • 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 kilometers;
    • drifting to either side of the road.

For truckers especially, taking deserved breaks from driving could lower the risk of fatigue related car accidents – and save lives. Truckers at time, will try to push their own limits and tolerance by trying to stay awake – sometimes at the cost of endangering other motorists.

Vulnerable Road Users

Motorcycle and scooter accidents, at-fault or not, are the cause of up to 10% of motor vehicle related deaths in the Province. 2017 was an all-time high, with 48 deaths reports, with almost half of the fatalities not being at-fault. Contributing factors to motorcycle accidents were reported to be distracted driving (motorcylists hit by motorists using their phones) drug impairment, alcohol impairment, excessive speeding, and improper turns.

Aggressive Driving related crashes

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 has 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 lost a loved on in a wrongful death accident?

If a loved one has died in a car accident as a result of the negligence of an individual or company, take the time to talk to a Hamilton personal injury lawyer at Lalande & Company Lawyers.  Our Hamilton car accident lawyers understand that the sudden death of a loved one can tear a family apart and cause inexplainable 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. We understand what you’re going through. The law and procedures surrounding wrongful death claims are very complicated. We 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. Unfortunately, time is often of the essence in these types of devastating fatality cases and it is important to contact a lawyer that specialize in wrongful death as soon as possible.  Call us 24/7 at 905-333-8888 or chat with out live website operator 24/7.