Prom season is here, and it’s an exciting time for high school students in Ontario. Just like the iconic flick “Pretty in Pink,” prom is seen as a magical night and an important life milestone. Whether it’s held in the school gym or a fancy hotel ballroom, it’s a major event that involves formalwear, corsages, tickets, parties – and as the car accident lawyer at Verkhovets Law knows, the looming possibility of tragic headlines after a horrible, unnecessary car crash involving teen revellers.
Our Toronto car accident lawyer has seen a sobering Catch-22 emerge: while statistics show that Gen-Z is the most alcohol-free cohort in recent history, those who do drive impaired are at a very high risk of a devastating car accident. In fact, according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), car accidents are still the leading cause of 16-to-25-year-old deaths, and drugs and/or alcohol are involved in 55 per cent of them.
Ironically, while the “sober curious” movement is spurring more among them to stay dry during graduation celebrations compared to their parents – and certainly their Boomer grandparents – there’s every chance they could get into a car when the party’s over with the wrong guy who’s drunk behind the wheel, says Toronto car accident lawyer, Mariya Verkhovets, managing partner at the firm.
And it’s not just alcohol that puts youths at risk while driving, notes our car accident lawyer. According to a shocking Drug Free Kids Canada survey, 32 per cent of teens don’t think driving while impaired with cannabis is “as bad” as liquor, while 25 per cent of their parents agreed! Yet a study from the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA) shows that driving high nearly doubles the risk of a car accident.
Our car accident lawyer Toronto knows the disturbing statistics on teens and accident tragedies
The Toronto car accident lawyer at Verkhovets Law warns that while drinking and driving is illegal and highly dangerous – regardless of age or occasion – teens are particularly vulnerable to having a car accident because of their limited driving experience, immaturity, and higher chances of risk-taking behaviour. Teens like to push boundaries, thinking they are invincible.
Our car accident lawyer, Ms. Verkhovets, notes that when compared to other age groups, young people have the highest rates of car accident fatalities and personal injuries per capita, says MADD. Among drivers under the age of 75, they also have the highest death rate per kilometer.
Shockingly, more 19-year-olds experience severe injuries or fatalities than any other age group.
More statistics include:
- Common misconceptions among teens are that some drugs don’t negatively affect their driving, in fact, they think it can improve their ability, and the chances of being pulled over for impaired driving are not high, explains our car accident lawyer Toronto. A survey conducted by the CAA South Central Ontario found in 2022 that 156,000 Ontario drivers drove high on edibles over three months.
- Speeding is involved in a third of teen driver fatalities and they’re more likely to do it if there are other Gen-Zers in the car with them, notes our car accident lawyer. The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (CACP) says 40 per cent of speeding drivers are aged 16 to 24, and 80 per cent of passenger fatalities were being driven by a driver of a similar age.
- Our Toronto car accident lawyer says 94 per cent of teen drivers say they know the dangers of texting and driving, but 35 per cent of them admit to still doing it, and driving
- Males account for 87 per cent of teen drunk driving fatalities and 89 per cent of those seriously injured while driving impaired, notes our car accident lawyer.
- An Ontario Ministry of Transportation report shows 17 per cent of drivers involved in fatal collisions aged 16 to 19 had been drinking. Nationally, Transport Canada reported that among drivers in the same age group who were killed in motor vehicle crashes, 33 per cent had positive test results for alcohol.
- Driver error is often a significant contributing factor in car accidents involving teens. Common factors include distracted driving, speeding, impaired driving, peer pressure affecting decision-making, and lack of experience or skill behind the wheel, says our Toronto car accident lawyer at Verkhovets Law.
- A Canadian Student Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs Survey indicated that about 21% of students reported engaging in binge drinking (consuming five or more drinks on one occasion) in the past 12 months of 2021-2022.
5 initiatives to combat prom car accidents
The car accident lawyer at Verkhovets Law knows there are various programs in Ontario that aim to prevent and reduce teen impaired driving – focusing on education, awareness, and providing alternative transportation options including:
- School-based programs: Many high schools in the province offer educational programs and campaigns that raise awareness about the risks and consequences of drunk driving, notes our car accident injury lawyer Toronto. These involve presentations, workshops, and discussions to promote responsible decision-making.
- Public awareness campaigns: Organizations like Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Canada run public awareness campaigns targeting teens, parents, and the public. These campaigns aim to educate about the dangers of impaired driving and encourage responsible behavior.
- Ride-sharing services: Ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft operate in Ontario providing accessible and convenient alternatives to driving under the influence. These services can be particularly useful for teens attending events like prom or parties, reminds our Toronto car accident lawyer.
- Safe Grad programs: Many high schools and communities organize Safe Grad programs, which offer all-night, alcohol-free events after prom. These programs provide entertainment, activities, and transportation, ensuring a safe and enjoyable environment for students.
- Designated Driver programs: Our Toronto car accident lawyer notes that some communities and organizations establish designated driver programs, where volunteers commit to staying sober and providing safe rides for their friends or peers.
- Graduated Licensing System (GLS): Our car accident lawyer knows that Ontario has implemented a Graduated Licensing System, which includes restrictions and additional requirements for new drivers, including teenagers. This system is designed to provide young drivers with more experience and training before they obtain a full driver’s license.
- The Toronto car accident lawyer at Verkhovets Law advises the Ontario branch of the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) has several programs and resources aimed at educating and supporting young drivers including their School Safety Patrol Program.
9 tips from our Toronto car accident lawyer for parents
The car accident lawyer at Verkhovets Law says this checklist can help parents prevent prom night car crashes:
- Have open and honest conversations about the dangers of impaired driving, advises our Toronto car accident lawyer.
- Set expectations about alcohol/drug use, curfew, and safe transportation options.
- Our car accident lawyer says to tell them they can call you for a ride. Every parent would rather get up at 2am to rescue their child rather be woken up by a hospital emergency department, the police, or the coroner.
- Teach them how to handle peer pressure and prioritize their safety.
- Host a safe and alcohol-free post-prom supervised gathering at your home or support community-sponsored secure events, says our car accident lawyer.
- Know your teen’s prom night plans, including the location, who they’re with, and transportation arrangements.
- Our car accident lawyer Toronto recommends keeping your phone on and being available all night in case they need help.
- Remind your teen about the dangers of distracted driving, such as texting while driving, and encourage them to focus solely on the road.
- Set a good example by practicing responsible driving and don’t drive impaired.
A Toronto car accident lawyer knows the types of injuries from car crashes
- Abdominal injuries: Damage to organs such as the liver, spleen, or intestines, warns our Toronto car accident lawyer.
- Bone fractures: Broken bones in various parts of the body, including arms, legs, ribs, or skull.
- Brain injuries: Brain injuries from head trauma, ranging from mild concussions to severe brain damage, notes our car accident lawyer Toronto.
- Burns: Thermal burns caused by fire or contact with hot surfaces.
- Cervical spine injuries: Injuries to the neck, including sprains, strains, or fractures in the cervical vertebrae.
- Chest injuries: Damage to the chest, including rib fractures, lung contusions, or damage to internal organs, says a car accident lawyer Toronto.
- Facial injuries: Fractures, lacerations, or dental injuries from impact with the steering wheel, dashboard, or airbags.
- Internal injuries: Blunt force trauma damage to internal organs.
- Limb injuries: Arms, legs, hands, or feet, including fractures, dislocations, or severe sprains, says the car accident lawyer at Verkhovets Law.
- Neck and back injuries: Whiplash, spinal cord injury, herniated discs, or damage to the spinal cord resulting in paralysis or loss of sensation.
- Soft tissue injuries: Injury to muscles, tendons, or ligaments, including sprains, strains, or tears.
- Psychological injuries: Emotional trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or psychological distress resulting from the accident.
Types of injuries from a car crash that can be fatal:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI): Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) leading to brain swelling, bleeding, or irreversible damage, resulting in death, says our Toronto car accident lawyer.
- Internal organ injuries: Severe damage to vital organs, including the heart, lungs, liver, spleen, or kidneys, can be fatal due to internal bleeding or organ failure.
- Spinal cord injuries: Severe spinal cord injuries can cause paralysis or loss of vital functions, leading to respiratory failure or other fatal complications.
- Chest injuries: Serious chest trauma, including multiple rib fractures, damage to the heart or major blood vessels, or collapsed lungs, can be fatal.
- Exsanguination: External bleeding from lacerations or puncture wounds may lead to significant blood loss and subsequent death, notes the Toronto car accident lawyer at Verkhovets Law.
- Severe burns: Extensive burns resulting from vehicle fires or other sources can cause shock, infection, or organ failure, leading to death.
- Massive trauma: In cases of high-impact collisions, multiple injuries throughout the body, including fractures, internal injuries, and severe tissue damage, can collectively contribute to fatal outcomes, advises our car accident lawyer Toronto.
There are legal options after a prom-related car accident
The Toronto car accident lawyer at Verkhovets Law knows if your teen has been involved in a car accident leaving them with a personal injury there are avenues for legal actions and potential compensation.
Our car accident lawyer knows Ontario operates under a no-fault insurance system meaning that regardless of who is at fault for the accident, your teen may be eligible for accident benefits through their own insurance policy or the policy of the vehicle they were in at the time of the accident.
These benefits are governed by the mandatory Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule (SABS) and compensate you for your damages including:
- Medical and rehabilitation
- Income replacement
- Attendant care
- Housekeeping and home maintenance
Depending on the circumstances of the accident, you may have grounds for legal action against the at-fault driver, says our car accident lawyer Toronto. A personal injury lawsuit can be pursued to seek compensation for damages such as pain and suffering, loss of income, future care costs, and other related losses.
If the worst has happened and the car accident was a fatality due to someone else’s negligence, our car accident lawyer advises you may file a wrongful death claim seeking compensation for the loss of your loved one, including funeral expenses, loss of financial support, and loss of companionship.
Call or email our car accident lawyer if your teen is in a prom car accident
Prom season is a memorable time for Canadian teenagers, filled with expectations and celebrations. However, it’s crucial to prioritize safety and avoid tragic outcomes. If a car accident has happened due to impaired driving our Toronto car accident lawyer, Mariya Verkhovets, is here for you.