Car accidents in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) are increasing, causing concern among students and the greater community.
In response to this, many students in the community have changed their usual commutes in response to the recent uptick in news reports about motor vehicle accidents.
The sudden increase in accidents without a clear cause has students and residents thinking about possible origins. Some community members cite distracted driving or driving under the influence as the leading causes though some believe some lesser-known reasons are significant contributors to this issue.
“I think a huge cause of accidents is driving while tired or overtired, … when you drive tired, it has the same effect on your reflexes that alcohol does,” said Daniel Murphy, a member of the GTA.
Another student, Storm Fedwick, said, “People are too quick, and they think they’re invincible, so they go as fast as they are able to and don’t really realize they are operating a weapon.”
Under a report titled “Contributing Factors in Fatal Collisions,” Statistics Canada cites negligent, distracted, and impaired driving as the most common causes of accidents, claiming almost half of all car accidents in 2016 – 2020 were caused by careless driving, accounting for 42 per cent of all crashes.
The increase in car accidents is affecting the GTA community, with many students and residents worried about the safety of their daily commutes.
“I don’t feel safe [driving] in the GTA, … I definitely have to be super aware when driving,” said Olivia Copeland, a student at Durham College.
Some students have taken this as a sign to reflect on their own driving, with some saying they are more mindful of themselves and the weather, causing them to drive more defensively.
In light of this, the National Collision Database says the number of fatalities in car-related accidents has risen by almost four per cent since 2020.
This issue has affected other students more severely as they see this as a barrier when it comes to arriving at school.
“If conditions get bad enough, I wouldn’t even drive, I don’t think, … If the situation was bad enough, I just wouldn’t commute; I would miss the day of classes,” Murphy said.
Since the issue is impacting more than just those involved in the accidents, but also other community members and how they get to and from to and from school or work, some think it is essential to focus on slowing this increase.
Community members and students are urging more safety measures to be put in place to curb this rise and avoid car accidents in the future.
However, some community members are adamant that this issue cannot be fixed by increasing punishments related to road laws and are suggesting the community should come together and open a dialogue about this situation.
“I honestly think there should be an open discussion with the people, and if we open the conversation up, it will be better for everyone,” said Copeland who also suggested drivers be better educated, and officials should create community events.
However, some say the awareness being raised should focus on the “harsh realities” of the rising numbers of accidents.
Murphy said campaigns that show the actual consequences of reckless driving will be the most effective way to slow this curb, suggesting that signage and discussions from officials should detail the aftermath of accidents instead of the causes to engage people and raise awareness around this issue.
He said that if people are “reminded” that someone’s life is at risk because of their driving, it will curb this significant uptick quickly as “people should be a little bit more afraid of and respect cars.”