Canadian auto dealers dedicate month of March to combatting distracted driving

Drivers using cellphones suffer 'inattention blindness'

Canadian auto dealers dedicate month of March to combatting distracted driving

The 2018 Auto Dealers Against Distracted Driving campaign, a month-long initiative that aims to spread awareness that there's no such thing as safe multi-tasking while behind the wheel, launched March 1.

According to the Traffic Injury Research Foundation, it's estimated that drivers using a cellphone may fail to see up to 50 per cent of the available information in their driving environment. Individuals suffer so-called "inattention blindness" as they direct more of their focus to secondary tasks unrelated to driving.

Now in its fourth year, the campaign encourages auto dealership customers, staff and members of the surrounding community to make a formal commitment to drive distraction free by pledging either in-person at the dealership, or online.

"Audi Richmond dedicates time and effort to the campaign because we recognize how important the cause is to our industry," says Emily Westcott, marketing co-ordinator at Audi Richmond, a participating dealer last year that collected pledges. "Last year, we saw so much engagement from our local community and we were able to hit our stride with collecting pledges because we took every opportunity to encourage safe driving habits and our customers were always willing to listen and have those conversations." 

The official goal of the 2018 campaign is to encourage behavioural change in drivers and collect 20,000 pledges against distracted driving. 

LGM Financial Services, the organization that facilitates the annual campaign, will donate $1 towards education and research on road safety for every pledge, up to a maximum of $20,000, with the proceeds going to the Traffic Injury Research Foundation.

"This year's campaign is all about increasing dealer engagement and dispelling the myth that you can do several things at once while driving," says Marc-Andre Lefebvre, VP of sales for Quebec and campaign lead at LGM. "Many people think that just because they haven't had an incident or close call, it means they're skilled at multitasking and therefore don't pose a risk to themselves or others on the road, and that's a dangerous misconception."