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Biggest factor in Ontario fatal crashes is distracted driving

OPP have determined that distracted driving is the most commonly reported factor in fatal car accidents based on data from 2005 through 2014. Along with distracted driving, other common factors in fatal crashes include speeding, drunk driving and not wearing helmets or seat belts.

In the 10-year period of data that OPP analyzed, data for distracted driving was not recorded until 2009. During that year, 310 people were killed in 280 fatal crashes. Distracted driving was involved in 71 of those deaths. In 2014, these figures dropped to 265 fatal accidents causing 287 deaths. Distracted driving was a factor in 73 of those deaths. These figures make it appear as though distracted driving has remained relatively flat, but between 2009 and 2013, distracted driving-related incidents steadily increased to 88 deaths.

Among the other contributions to traffic collisions in 2009, 50 deaths involved impaired driving, 67 involved not wearing helmets or seat belts, and 80 involved speed. According to 2014 figures, fewer people died from these factors, with the report listing 46 impaired driving fatalities, 50 involving not wearing helmets or seat belts, and 61 involving speed.

While the number of fatalities in car accidents has declined over the years, OPP says that there is still work to be done. They plan to release detailed data about collisions and fatalities to make motorists more aware of the factors and their risks. With this increase in public awareness, OPP expects the number of fatalities to continue to decline.

Authorities consider most of these factors reckless or negligent driving behaviours. The spouse, children or parents of anyone who dies in a fatal accident involving one of these factors could receive compensation for the pecuniary and non-economic damages.

Source: CBC News, "Driver inattention the biggest factor in crash fatalities, OPP say," Feb. 9, 2015

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