Using an Accident Injury Lawyer to Obtain Collision Data

By Sokoloff Lawyers
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Using an Accident Injury Lawyer to Obtain Collision Data

The wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round, round and round. But the more those wheels’ spin, the more likely a school bus accident becomes. Especially for parents, school bus safety is an important aspect of public safety. Unfortunately, the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) and Catholic School Board have made dubious use of privacy legislation to prevent important data on school bus accidents from being released. However, a good accident injury lawyer can fight to secure that important information.


Total School Bus Collisions in Ontario


Clearly, data on school bus collisions is important in analyzing the issue and coming up with regulations, rules, and other preventative measures. Knowing the details of crashes can help identify patterns, which in turn allows for targeted strategies. We do, in fact, have broad data related to school bus accidents in Toronto. Toronto school buses travelled approximately 70 million kilometers between 2009 and 2014, and experienced only about two-thirds the collisions of TTC vehicles. Nonetheless, this adds up to 1,557 total accidents over those years—an average of nearly one school bus collision per day. Beyond these troubling numbers, the TDBS and Catholic School Board refuse to disclose figures relating to the specific contractors involved in each accident.


Which Contractors are Responsible?


The TDSB and Catholic School Board employ five contractors to provide their school bus services. A student transport consortium that represents the contractors released a chart indicating that one of the five contractors has significantly higher instances of accidents relative to the size of their fleet. However, the identity of this company remains a secret due to privacy legislation the school boards. Naturally, one would think that information on the contractors responsible for Toronto school bus accidents is of public concern. An accident injury lawyer would agree; it’s just such an argument that they have brought forth to the school boards.


The Privacy Defence


Despite those school boards’ arguments, Ontario’s privacy commissioner and any accident injury lawyer would argue that an issue like this, so clearly of public interest, overrides confidentiality. The school boards contend that the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (MFIPPA) forbids public institutions from releasing data on third-party contractors. While this is true to the letter of the law, an accident injury lawyer can tell you that this exemption is designed to protect trade secrets and the like; an exemption that would not apply in this case. In fact, according to a spokesperson for the Ontario Privacy and Information Commissioner, an institution “may determine that the public interest takes precedence and release the information,” even if the information may be withheld by the letter of the law. In other words, the school boards use of MFIPPA as a protection against releasing the accident information is entirely self-imposed.


If you or a child has experienced an accident due to a school bus collision and want to learn more about accident statistics, you’ll need an experienced Toronto personal injury lawyer to help you get the facts. Contact Sokoloff personal injury lawyers today for a free consultation.