Statistics recently released by the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) show that 2016 was a particularly deadly year on OPP-patrolled roads, trails and waterways.
OPP reported increases in deaths across the board, from automobile accidents to boaters and paddlers and snowmobilers.
One common theme noted throughout the report is that dangerous, careless behaviours played a role in most accident deaths. This means these accidents could have been prevented.
The total number of deaths from auto accidents in 2016 reached a four-year high at 307 deaths. This is despite a decrease in the number of OPP-investigated collisions: down to 67,372 collisions from 69,934 in 2015.
Of those collisions, 11,506 resulted in injuries and 275 resulted in deaths. The majority of accidents caused damage to property.
The “Big Four”
OPP noted that “every year, without exception,” most traffic fatalities are caused by the “Big Four,” which are four of the most common dangerous driving habits and leading factors in road deaths.
The Big Four include:
OPP noted that lack of seat belt use applies to both drivers and passengers.
Commercial Transport Vehicles
Police reported little change in the number of road fatalities involving commercial vehicles in 2016. According to OPP, there were 5,357 collisions and 67 deaths compared to 5,381 collisions and 71 deaths in 2015.
Transport trucks regularly account for more than three times as many fatalities as those involving personal vehicles. A significant majority of those deaths involve occupants in other vehicles, which highlights the dangers of collisions with transport trucks.
Although there were fewer motorcycle collisions in 2016, OPP reported very little change in the number of motorcycle accident fatalities. There were 749 collisions and 33 deaths in 2016, compared to 837 collisions and 35 deaths in 2015.
Speeding and loss of control of the vehicle were the main contributing factors to these accidents.
These numbers come after a string of serious motorcycle accidents started the motorcycle season on a deadly path.
Last year marked the deadliest year for pedestrians in more than 12 years with 39 deaths, up from 25 in 2015.
The last time pedestrian deaths exceeded 30 was in 2009.
Having just received the finalized data for the 2016/2017 snowmobiling season, OPP reported 26 snowmobile deaths, which is the highest number of deaths since the 2003/2004 season. Twelve of those deaths occurred in February alone.
Speeding, losing control and inattention were the leading causes of snowmobile deaths. OPP noted that most of the victims were between the ages of 45 and 64.
According to OPP, 2016 marked a 10-year high for deaths involving off-road vehicles. There were 22 deaths, 13 of which involved alcohol or drugs and nine of which involved the victim not wearing a helmet.
Boaters and Paddlers
Last year was also a deadly one for boaters. With the most marine deaths in three years, there were 23 deaths and 19 incidents on OPP-patrolled waterways, seven of which involved non-motorized vehicles like kayaks and canoes.
The leading causes of death in these accidents were falling overboard, alcohol, and capsized or flooded vessels.
Most fatal marine accidents involve victims who were not wearing a life vest. Nineteen of the 23 victims were found without a life vest in 2016; none of the victims in 2015 were wearing life vests.
Losing a loved one in a preventable accident is a tragedy. However, if you have lost a loved one because of another’s actions, you may have legal options and may be entitled to compensation for your loss.
The experienced team of wrongful death lawyers at Greg Monforton & Partners can help you review your legal options through a free, no obligation consultation. Contact us today to learn more. We do not get paid unless you do.