Category: Distracted Driving

Let’s help make pedestrians safer on Spring Garden Road in Halifax

by John McKiggan

We have been trying to raise awareness to make Halifax a safer city for our pedestrians. See for example Mark Raftus’ recent article: Protecting Pedestrians with Innovative Ideas

Petition to Lower Speed Limit on Spring Garden

Spring_Garden_Road_at_Queen_StreetHalifax City Council recently approved a plan to improve streetscaping and lighting along Spring Garden Road to make it more pedestrian friendly. We believe that pedestrians should be able to safely walk the streets of Halifax. However, there were 208 pedestrian accidents last year (2015) and a disproportionate number happened on Spring Garden. There are three intersections on Spring Garden that have averaged 6 pedestrian-car collisions over the last few years. As business owners on this Road, we’ve launching a petition to reduce the speed to 30km per hour, ensuring a safer street for everyone.

Halifax has the Worst Drivers in Canada: AllState Insurance Report

by John McKiggan

According to a new report released by Insurance Company AllState Canada looking at communities across the country drivers in Halifax have the highest collision rate in the country. In other words, we have more accidents per capita than any of the communities across the country that were studied.

The AllState Canada safe driving study ranked Spruce Grove Alberta as the safest place to drive in Canada with a collision rate of 3.43% per 100 cars. Halifax ranked dead last in the study with a collision rate of 7.12% per 100 cars.

The representative from AllState insurance, Deanna Lumax speculated that the increase in collisions in Halifax may have been due to the terrible driving conditions we had as a result of our brutal winter last year as well as the increasing use of cell phones and distracted driving.

Asking Siri for Directions is not Distracted Driving (in Nova Scotia)

by John McKiggan

Using Voice Activated Navigation Isn’t “Using” a Phone?

In a recent decision Justice Jamie Campbell acquitted Ajirogho Enakeno Ikede of distracted driving. Ikede was holding his iphone and asking Siri for directions when he was pulled over by a police office. Police ticketed Ikede for distracted driving contrary to Section 100 of the Motor Vehicle Act. That section of the act states:
It is an offence for a person to use a hand held cellular telephone or engage in text messaging on any communications device while operating a vehicle on a highway” [emphasis added]
The defendant Ikede had been acquitted by Justice Claudine MacDonald and the Crown appealed. Justice Campbell dismissed the Crown’s appeal and confirmed that Ikede was not guilty of distracted driving. Campbell J. was concerned that the word “use” was not defined in the legislation.

Justice Campbell was of the opinion that using the voice activated GPS function on a phone was not the same as using the cell phone to make a telephone call. Justice Campbell stated at paragraph 4 of his decision:
“Use” does not encompass all interactions with handheld devices that have cellular telephone functionality. When the driver, without looking at the screen of the device, engaged a voice activated navigational system related directly to the safe operation of the vehicle through a handheld electronic communications device, he was not “using” a cellular telephone.”
Voice activated systems are still distracting!

McKiggan Hebert Awards Scholarship to Raise Awareness of Dangers of Distracted Driving

by John McKiggan

Distracted Driving a Growing Danger

Distracted driving is now the number one cause of deaths on Nova Scotia highways. In order to raise awareness of the dangers of Distracted Driving, McKiggan Hebert Lawyers has created an annual scholarship for a Canadian student who demonstrates academic excellence and a commitment to end distracted driving.

I have been a volunteer with EndDD.org, a nonprofit focused on ending distracted driving, for several years. My legal practice is dedicated exclusively to representing those who have suffered personal injurys. Many of those clients have suffered injury in car accidents caused by distracted driving.

“Holding” a cell phone will get you fined for distracted driving in Nova Scotia: The Queen v. Cullen Edward MacDonald

by John McKiggan

Are you “using” your cell phone if you are just holding it?

That’s the question that was before the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia this week. In a decision released yesterday: The Queen v. Cullen Edward MacDonald, Justice Chipman of the Nova Scotia Supreme Court ruled on Section 100D (1) of the Motor Vehicle Act with respect to you what it means to “use” a handheld cellular telephone.

Texting and driving

How old is too old to drive?

by John McKiggan

They say that you are only as old as you think you are. But the older I get the more I realize my body hasn’t heard that saying.

Don’t get me wrong, I still have a while to go before I am officially considered to be a “senior citizen”. But I do understand that as we get older we begin to experience health concerns including loss of hearing and eyesight, our reflexes begin to deteriorate, and we tend to require a wide array of medications which can have any number of effects on our mental capacity.

This combination of issues can be particularly concerning when a senior gets behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. But how do we get older drivers to give up their prized independence and hand over the keys?

End Distracted Driving Presentation at Fairview JHS: Hands-free isn’t harm-free!

by John McKiggan

FJH1.jpg

As part of my volunteer efforts with End Distracted Driving (EndDD.org) I have been speaking to students at high schools and junior high schools throughout Metro. Yesterday I had the pleasure of talking with 150 grade nine students at Fairview Junior High School. I was impressed with the interest shown by the students and the questions they asked.

EndDD.org’s Mission Statement can be found on their website:

Are Painkillers Causing Car-Accidents?

by John McKiggan

Opioid painkillers are prescription drugs (in Canada) that are used to relieve pain. The drugs increase the release of dopamine to the brain, causing intense happiness and pleasure. Opioids also help alleviate pain by interfering with the transmission of pain signals to the brain.

Common Medications

Popular pharmaceuticals in the opioid family include: codeine (Tylenol 2, 3, 4), morphine, hydromorphone, oxycodone (OxyContin, Percocet). Codeine is sold over the cou8nter, while the stronger opioids, morphine, hydromorphone and oxycodone are only available by prescription and are usually prescribed for sever or chronic pain or cancer.

Increase in NS Traffic Deaths in 2012: What can we do?

by John McKiggan

Huge Increase in Traffic Fatalities

2012 was not a good year for Nova Scotia motor vehicle accidents with eighty-two (82) road fatalities. In fact, 2012 bucked the trend of a steady decline in motor vehicle fatalities that has been ongoing since 2007. Compare the 2012 numbers to those in 2011 when there were only sixty-five (65) people killed on the road. That’s a 21% increase!

Back in July of 2012, I voiced my concerns about the cause of the rising trend of fatal accidents on Nova Scotia roads: Increase in Nova Scotia Traffic Fatalities: Is Distracted Driving to Blame?

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