Ludwar Law Firm has compiled a few interesting articles relating to some of our practice areas. Take a moment to review the articles below and contact our office to discuss your long-term disability claims.
Alberta DUI Law Upheld but Appeal Looms
Alberta Judge Declares License Suspensions before Trial Constitutional
The Alberta Court of Queen's Bench has upheld a controversial DUI law that had been challenged as unconstitutional, according to the Edmonton Journal. A group of motorists had challenged the law, arguing that it treated the accused as guilty before receiving a trial. The judge in the case, however, noted that the legislation had likely led to a reduction in car accidents caused by impaired drivers and that no constitutional rights were violated by the legislation's measures. A notice to appeal has already been filed, suggesting the matter is far from resolved.
The controversial legislation was passed in 2012 and it suspends the licence of anybody charged with drunk driving in the province until his or her court case is over. Motorists who challenged the suspension claimed it treated them as though they were guilty before a verdict had actually been reached in court. They also contended that waiting for a trial can take months or even years.
Furthermore, critics claimed that the licence suspensions would entice people to plead guilty to crimes they may not have committed. Because licence suspensions can be indefinite, critics argued that some accused people would plead guilty rather than wait for a trial.
Public Safety Is Paramount
The judge in the case, however, rejected those arguments. He pointed out that driving was not a constitutional right and therefore the licence suspensions could not be described as such. He also found the argument that innocent people would plead guilty as unconvincing, noting that in most cases a person would plead guilty because the case against them was strong.
Most importantly, the judge drew attention to the public safety benefit of the legislation, pointing out that the law had likely already prevented drunk drivers from being on the road and, therefore, had probably already saved lives. Proponents of the law have long contended that suspending the driving licences of people accused of impaired driving would help make Alberta's roads safer. Despite such claims, however, the ruling is being appealed, according to Global News.
Drunk driving is one of the leading causes of serious car accidents in Alberta. Victims of impaired drivers are often left with injuries that can stay with them for months or even years to come. Anybody who has been injured because of a potentially drunk or otherwise negligent driver should get in touch with a personal injury lawyer right away. The right lawyer can advise clients about what their legal options may be, including what type of compensation can be sought to help cope with the many burdens that often arise following a crash.
Calgary Leads the Way in Country’s “Worst Drivers”
Popular Reality Show Says City Outstrips Other Cities for Contenders
Calgary has the dubious honour of being the city to provide the most drivers to the popular reality-television series, "Canada's Worst Driver," according to the Calgary Herald. The show's producers say the city has far outstripped other Canadian cities for the number of contestants provided to the show. Given that Edmonton managed to provide the second most contestants, the statistics may be indicative of a province-wide problem, especially given recent government figures showing an increase in car accidents in the province.
Calgary Has the Worst Drivers?
The television program includes contestants from all over Canada to try to find the country's worst driver. In the show's 10 seasons, Calgary has provided 11 contestants, which is more than twice as many as the second-place city Edmonton provided, with five contestants.
Some of the habits of Calgary's bad drivers are particularly disturbing, including taking selfies in the car and stopping in traffic in order to merge. Although the show includes many light moments, producers say it does have a serious message, which is to encourage safer driving on Canada's roads and highways.
Alberta Collisions Increase
Given that Alberta's two biggest cities have outstripped the rest of Canada in providing "Worst Driver" contestants, the safety of driving on the province's roads may seem questionable. Indeed, recent government figures provide some mixed results pertaining to road safety in Alberta. The government found that while road fatalities decreased last year, according to MetroNews, the overall number of collisions actually went up.
The problem is likely being driven largely by the increase in distracted driving accidents, such as those caused by cellphone use while behind the wheel. Although the province does not track the number of accidents caused by distracted driving, experts say distracted driving is quickly becoming a deadlier threat on the roads than impaired driving. The problem has become so serious that the provincial government is facing pressure by road safety advocates to punish distracted drivers with demerit points rather than just the fine they currently face.
As the above story shows, Calgary's roads can be scary places to drive, especially with so many motorists suffering from distractions and just plain bad driving. Despite the many responsible drivers, the few bad motorists pose a dangerous and unacceptable risk to all drivers on the road.
Anybody who has been injured by a negligent driver should contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. An experienced lawyer can help victims decide what steps to take following an accident and whether they may have a case to hold negligent drivers accountable for their actions.
Calgary Taxi Drivers Warned about Cell Phone Use while Driving
Issues of Distracted Driving Becoming More Important than Drunk Driving for Canadians
The City of Calgary's chief livery officer is warning the city's taxi drivers about the serious consequences if they are caught on a cell phone while driving customers, according to Metro News. A survey found that the majority of taxi customers said their driver was on a phone while driving. The report comes as Canadians are becoming increasingly aware of the dangers of distracted driving, with the Canadian Automobile Association saying that most car crashes are now attributable to driver distraction.
Cabbies & Cell Phones
The survey, conducted by the Taxi Limousine Advisory Committee, reported that 61 percent of customers said that they had a taxi driver who was using a cell phone while driving. The results have raised concerns and warnings among some Calgary city officials.
While the province's distracted driving laws apply to all drivers, including taxi drivers, penalties are even more severe for taxi drivers who use a cell phone while driving customers. The chief livery officer points out that the city has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to cell phone use among taxi drivers. If a taxi driver is caught using a cell phone while transporting a customer then the incident will result in a mandatory court appearance.
Dangers of Distracted Driving
The concern about cell phone use among taxi drivers is highlighted by a recent column in the Lethbridge Herald. The newspaper cites a number of CAA statistics that show just how dangerous distracted driving, which includes texting and talking on a cell phone, can be on Canada's roads.
The CAA says that eight out of 10 collisions on Canadian roads and highways are now caused by distracted driving. While many people believe that they are able to safely drive while using a cell phone, the truth is that any type of distraction, no matter how brief, inevitably leads to a driver's attention being diverted from actually focusing on the road. The problem is becoming so severe, in fact, that a number of recent opinion polls show that Canadians now rank distracted driving as being more of a threat to road safety than drunk driving.
Motor Vehicle Accidents
As the above stories show, distracted driving, and other forms of driver negligence, present a daily hazard to many drivers throughout both Alberta and the rest of Canada. In many cases, distracted driving can lead to serious collisions resulting in innocent victims being injured or even killed.
Victims of negligent drivers, however, should know that they have a right to hold negligent drivers accountable for their actions. By consulting with an experienced personal injury lawyer, victims will have the help they need to pursue any compensation to which they may be entitled.