It’s been dubbed the new impaired driving, because it affects driver response time and judgment in similar ways.
Although texting is rampant, people are also distracted by smoking, eating, looking at their GPS, watching videos, applying makeup, being tired – even loud music.
The statistics tell the story – and it’s not a good one
A survey was done two years ago by police and groups that fight distracted driving and they believed that 76 per cent of the data for the last five years showed distraction had been responsible for more road fatalities than impaired driving.1 Across Canada, fines for distracted driving can range from $80 to $1200 and cost drivers 3-5 demerit points and yet, it appears that drivers are not getting the message.
Penalties associated with distracted driving in Provinces and Territories in Canada
Did you know that:
- 3 out of 4 Canadians admit to driving distracted.2
- Cell phones, including hands-free phones are the number one cause of distracted driving and account for about 26% of all car crashes.3
- When drivers’ use a hands-free phone, they are less aware of their surroundings and their reaction time is slower.
- According to the CAA, texting drivers are 23 times more likely to be in an accident than a driver who’s paying attention to the road.4
- Talking on the phone while driving makes a person as impaired as someone with a blood alcohol content of .08.5
- It’s estimated that distracted driving accounts for 4 million car crashes in North America each year.6
If you’re convicted of talking on your phone or texting while driving, not only will you be slapped with a hefty fine but you will also lose demerit points. And, you will see a big increase in your auto insurance premium. Further, should you have an accident resulting from distracted driving, you could see your premium increase even more.
Automobile accidents are on the rise and many of them are the result of driver distraction which is totally preventable.
Tips for reducing distracted driving
- Talk about it: Share with friends and family what you know about the dangers of distracted driving. If the driver you are with is distracted, speak up.
- Don’t rely on the GPS: Plan your route and how long it will take to get to there. Program your GPS before you leave, and turn the voice feature on.
- Put your cell phone away: Reduce temptation by keeping it out of sight, and turn the ringer off.
- Limit passenger distraction: Passengers are a common distraction. Graduated licensing has helped limit the number of passengers for younger drivers. When driving, keep your eyes on the road and limit conversations with passengers.
- Avoid multitasking: Multitasking can lead to distractions. Do your personal grooming before you leave the house.
- Turn the music down: Music should never be so loud that you can’t hear a siren or someone honking.
- Secure objects: Place loose items (purses, backpacks) in the trunk or behind the seat so that items inside don’t go flying if you have to brake suddenly.
- Don’t drive if tired: Make sure you get enough sleep before you go on a trip. Switch drivers every few hours. Drive during daylight hours when possible. Avoid driving if you’re on medication that makes you drowsy.
- Report distracted driving: If you see someone swerving or driving erratically, pull over and call 911 to report them.
Save a life, save money
Why engage in risky behavior that can lead to fines, injury or loss of human life? Don’t take chances. Know the risks, educate yourself and others, and do what it takes to put an end to this serious behavior.
- 1 The last text, National Post
- 2 Distract Driving, Insurance Bureau of Canada
- 3,4 Distract driving – Statistics, CAA National
- 5,6 Distract driving, Just the facts, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Gazette Magazine, Vol. 76, No. 2
The information and advice in this article are provided for informational purposes only. The Personal shall not be liable for any damages or losses arising from any reliance upon such information or advice.