‘Distraction behind the wheel is entirely preventable. Just don’t do it’
To mark this year’s National Safe Driving Week (Dec. 1 to 7), the Canada Safety Council and the Insurance Brokers Association of Canada is reminding drivers that they can stop road accidents caused by distracted driving.
“Distraction behind the wheel is entirely preventable. Just don't do it,” the agencies said in a press release.
According to Transport Canada, distraction was a contributing factor in 21 per cent of fatal collisions and 27 per cent of collisions resulting in serious injury in 2016. The Canadian Council of Motor Transportation Administrators noted that 1.7 per cent of fatal collisions and 1.9 per cent of collisions resulting in serious injury involved electronic communication devices between 2010–14.
And while professional drivers may be more adept at the job, they too have seen far too many accidents. Take school buses for example. According to the federal government, there were 25,252 collisions involving school buses from 1995–2004 which resulted in 142 deaths and 9,405 injuries. This equates to 14 deaths and 941 injuries per year from school bus collisions.
COS had previously reported that incorporating only basic vehicle control skills and law has little long-term effect on driver performance. According to the International Road Federation, the most important criterion for safe driving is a perfect balance between risks and capabilities, regardless of what those capabilities are.
"For driver education to truly effect a reduction in incident frequency and encourage more responsible driver actions, ongoing training and refresher training programs must incorporate the concepts of behaviours, motivations and attitude,” Spencer McDonald wrote in his column. “Training must assist in the development of higher-order skills including risk perception, advanced visual search and observational skills, as well as attitudinal components that encourage risk reduction and an understanding of the external and internal influences on a driver’s risk tolerance.”
Many workers drive as part of their jobs all across the country, so it’s crucial that safety managers impart the importance of not driving while distracted. Employers can be held liable for any incidents that may occur when employees are behind the wheel for work purposes.
“Insurance is all about risk, and distracted driving is an extremely risky behaviour,” said Peter Braid, CEO of IBAC. “The stakes are high — death, injury, property damage, fines and rising insurance premiums. Whatever the distraction, it’s not worth the risk.”