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Road Traffic Accidents in Canada: A Rising Epidemic?
Did you know that road traffic accidents are one of the leading causes of deaths in the world? According to statistics, about 1.2 million people around the world die in road accidents and about 50 million are injured in such scenarios. Experts have calculated that if such instances prevail, the burden of road side injuries would become the third contributing factor by the year 2020. Even though it is the developing countries that are more vulnerable to roadside accidents, developed countries also face the epidemic of traffic injuries and fatalities. Below are all the reasons why traffic accidents are becoming so common in Canada, what measures have been taken to control them and what are the things you as a driver, pedestrian and passenger have to keep in mind.
Road Traffic Accidents in Canada
The good news is road traffic accidents in Canada have been controlled significantly. This has mostly been because of the strict laws about roads and the events in which an accident takes place. For example, car insurance laws have been requires that all drivers have insurance. What’s more, Canadian roadside laws state that if there is an accident, whoever is involved must stop to see what can be done to help. If people don’t stop they will be penalized and will have to pay a fine.
But then if the accidents have lessened over time, what are the factors that still contribute to so many roadside injuries and deaths? Below are some of the reasons why the problem is still an epidemic, albeit a controlled one.
Research suggests that about 40% of the drivers who have been involved in roadside accidents in Canada were under the influence of alcohol. Anybody who is driving with 80mg% or 0.8 level of alcohol in their blood would be considered under the influence and be charged for it. According to the Criminal Code of Canada, drunk driving is a criminal offence and people could be sent to jail for it, or at least would need to pay a fine. Of course the instigator of the accident would also face probation where they will not be allowed to drive for a while, depending on how big the accident was. The increase in fine and the strict number of jail days has controlled accidents taking place due to this reason because people have become conscious of the laws.
Driving that is too aggressive or risky is another major reason for road traffic accidents. This includes everything from breaking traffic laws, speeding, running lights, tailgating, not giving way to other cars or even driving through the traffic dangerously, weaving in and out could lead to road traffic accidents. Studies show that dangerous driving leads to about 19% of roadside injuries and27% deaths.
Mostly common among young adults, drivers are killed on impact and there have been many cases where passengers have also been either killed or seriously injured. Such accidents mostly take place on urban roads due to either speeding or breaking the traffic lights.
Cell Phone Usage
This has become a real concern for authorities. People, especially young adults, are using cell phones more often when driving. Even when they are not texting, they become so absorbed in their conversations that they forget to look where they are going or not pay attention to the sides of the road. More and more awareness programs and initiatives have been started that coach young drivers to either decrease the use of cell phones or at least use a Bluetooth when talking, so that they are more able to pay attention to where they are going.
Some Other Causes
Some other causes that lead to road traffic accidents include:
- Drug or alcohol abuse
- Drivers who are too tired and are behind the wheels are also likely to get involved in a traffic accident than those who have had proper sleep.
- Eating or performing some other task in the car like changing CDs or radio channels, using the laptop, talking to passengers, handling kids or pets also cause some error in judgments which lead to accidents.
- Bad weather conditions or horrendous road conditions are also factors that lead to roadside accidents. Since there is a lot of snow and rain, the roads become too slippery and many young, as well as experienced drivers are unable to handle their vehicle.
Some Safety Measures
Now that you know what are the causes of road traffic or roadside accidents in Canada, there are many safety measures you can take, or teach your loved ones so that they cannot only keep themselves safe, but also remove any aspect of danger to others. Here is what you can do:
- Using a seatbelt decreases the chances of a fatality in case of a collision by 47%. This means that if you do not wear a seatbelt, your chances of death in a car accident are 47% more! Make sure you don’t only wear a seatbelt yourself but have a special one for small kids and babies.
- If you have a young driver in the family, ensure that they know about the repercussions of reckless driving. Keep in mind that 40% of drivers who are involved in roadside fatalities are those between the ages of 16 to 24. Teach them safe driving. It is essential that you make them aware now, before they get involved in any accidents.
- Drunk driving is a simple no-no. If you have had drinks, don’t even think about driving afterwards. Ask someone to drop you to your house or sleep over at the friend’s house. It is best to avoid taking alcoholic beverages when you have to drive afterwards.
- Forget about talking on the phone, using a laptop or getting into a heated discussion while driving. All of these things can wait till the time you reach your destination. Pay attention to the road and be especially careful when you are making turns or are on a road with forks.
However many safety measure the government takes, they will not be able to keep you safe, until and unless you decide to put your efforts in making sure that roads become safe!