The Auditor General recently released a report that confirms what anyone who has driven Ontario highways this past winter already knows or suspects – government cuts to road maintenance are putting drivers and their passengers at risk of injury and even death.
The horror stories abound of motorists trying to navigate busy highways in snowy and icy conditions where there had been no plowing, no salt, no sand – nothing at all to clear the way. In order to save money, the province switched to a system of lowest-bid contracts that are said to be “performance based” – that means there were no specific stipulations about how the work was to be done – or not.
With little or no oversight, the results are hardly surprising. These lowest-bid contractors,
- Skimp on salt
- Skimp on de-icing liquid
- Decide when to plow based on arbitrary criteria
“Winter maintenance service levels across the province decreased, leading in some cases to hazardous driving conditions,” concluded Ontario Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk in the report.
Most significantly, after a decade where road safety efforts have actually resulted in declining numbers for highway fatalities, “preliminary information indicated there was an increase in the number of deaths on Ontario highways in 2013 where snow, slush or ice was a factor. More can be done.”
To say the least! At the moment, some 200 lawsuits have been filed against the Ministry of Transportation because of the situation.
We Can Help
There is a level of reasonable-ness in the law; if it only began snowing ten minutes ago, the courts are not likely to find a municipality or other body responsible for the state of the roads due to weather conditions. If it’s been snowing for a couple of hours and the highway is still not cleared, the situation changes.
That’s where we come in. If you’ve been in a car accident that you feel was due to road maintenance issues, let our experienced motor vehicle accident lawyers help you sort through the issues and make sure your interests are protected by determining the real causes of the crash.
Call us (905) 949-9433 for a free consultation with an experienced motor vehicle accident lawyer. We look forward to hearing from you.