‘Learning that passengers are now speaking out and taking action when observing distracted driving behaviour is an important new finding’
Forty per cent of Canadians believe distracted driving is the number one cause of car-related deaths, surpassing impaired driving (33 per cent), according to a recent survey from auto insurer Rates.ca.
And more people are raising this issue to the drivers: 58 per cent have told a driver to stop texting or calling while driving on at least one occasion; 50 per cent of 18 to 34-year-olds have told a driver to stop using a mobile device while behind the wheel on more than three occasions.
"The fact that Canadians are now acknowledging distracted driving as the number one threat to fatalities on the road is significant," said Paul Kovacs, road safety ambassador at Rates.ca. "Learning that passengers are now speaking out and taking action when observing distracted driving behaviour is an important new finding."
Texting (58 per cent) is the most common distraction while driving, followed by placing a call hands free (19 per cent) and eating (14 per cent). Drinking coffee or water and using GPS mapping (both eight per cent) were also listed among the most common distractions.
"Any action that takes attention away from driving your vehicle creates unsafe conditions," said Kovacs. "Engaging in activities like texting, answering a phone call or drinking a coffee should only take place when the car is parked".
Preventing Distracted Driving
Ninety-five per cent of Canadians believe the dangers of distracted driving should be taught in schools (47 per cent in primary education and 48 per cent in high school), and 60 per cent of drivers believe there should be stiffer penalties for younger novice drivers for first and second offences.
To reduce the threat of distracted driving, Rates.ca advises that drivers should switch their mobile phones to ‘airplane mode’ or keep the phone out of sight and avoid checking it when stopping at traffic lights. Drivers must also plan in advance when to stop safely to check for emails, texts or phone calls; set their vehicle’s radio or dashboard infotainment system before driving and finally eat or drink before driving or while parked.