Canadian Drivers Blame Traffic Delays for Cell Phone Use

National distracted driving survey shows Canadians are still finding it difficult to put their phones away while driving

TORONTO, Sept. 30, 2014 /CNW/ - Almost 40 per cent of Canadian drivers admit to checking their phones when stopped due to traffic delays, according to a recent nationwide survey on distracted driving, by Leger for Allstate Canada. While stopped at a red light, 34 per cent of drivers said they check their phone and 18 per cent admitted to sending a text.  Survey results also found that drivers, age 18 to 34 were nearly three times more likely to send a text while stopped at a red light than older drivers. 

According to the most recent report from Transport Canada, in 2011 over 40 per cent of all motor vehicle collisions happen in or around intersections.  "This statistic really highlights how important it is for drivers to keep their focus on the road and the vehicles around them even while stopped at an intersection," says Ryan Michel, senior vice president and chief risk officer for Allstate Canada. "Drivers think that when they're stopped at a red light or in bumper to bumper traffic moving slowly, it's a safe time to check their phone or send a quick text.  You send your text, the light changes to green and you see the change with your peripheral vision. You react by automatically accelerating, unaware that the vehicle in front of you hasn't started to move yet." 

As a retired police officer and former accident reconstructionist, Bob Annan, cofounder of Accident Awareness has first-hand experience investigating these types of collisions. "When drivers are stopped they tend to pay less attention to the road and this is when collisions happen.  Whether you are driving down a highway or stuck at a red light, it's never safe to use your phone while driving.  That split second you take your concentration away from the road is sometimes all it takes for a collision to occur."

Pick up, it's your family calling

The survey also revealed that receiving a call or text from a spouse was given as the number one reason for picking up a phone while driving and almost half, 46 per cent of drivers surveyed with children compared to 29 per cent without children, admitted to checking their phones while stopped at a red light.

Are fines enough to get Canadians to put down their phones while driving?

According to survey results, almost 40 per cent of Canadian drivers said injuring themselves or others is the single consequence that would ultimately motivate them to put down their phones while driving - suggesting that Canadian drivers are still not taking distracted driving seriously.  Only a third of drivers surveyed said that receiving a fine or ticket was enough incentive not to use their phones while driving.   

Other highlights from the study include:

  • 57 per cent, of drivers surveyed said they would be in favour of having technology installed in their car to prevent them from using their phone while their car was running. 
  • If caught men are six times more likely than women to continue to use their phone while driving, after receiving a warning or fine from a police officer
  • Men are almost three times more likely than women to play a game on their phone while stopped at a red light.

Just Drive Canada

On October 7, 2014, Allstate Canada is launching the third annual national Just Drive contest.  Open to all Canadian High Schools, this contest gives students a chance to share their solutions to distracted driving through video, audio and pictures.  For more information on the contest and to learn more about the dangers of distracted driving, visit justdrivecanada.ca.

About Allstate Insurance Company of Canada

Allstate Insurance Company of Canada is one of Canada's leading producers and distributors of home and auto insurance products. "The Good Hands Network®" enables consumers to contact Allstate Canada through one of 85 community-based Agencies, directly online at allstate.ca and through the Customer Contact Centre at 1-800-Allstate. Allstate Canada is committed to making a positive difference in the communities in which it operates and has partnered with organizations such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD Canada), Crime Stoppers, United Way and Junior Achievement. Allstate Canada has been working with Accident Awareness to educate teens and young drivers on the dangers of distracted and dangerous driving since 2013. Together, the organizations offer free in-school presentations for high schools across the country. To learn more about Allstate Canada, visit allstate.ca and justdrivecanada.ca.

About the Allstate Canada Distracted Driver Poll

Allstate Canada commissioned Leger (leger360.com) to conduct an online survey of 1218 Canadians 18 and older who drive and have a cell phone. The total sample was weighted by age, gender and region.  Responses were collected between August 18 and August 21, 2014.   

Image with caption: "Canadian Drivers Blame Traffic Delays for Cell Phone Use (CNW Group/Allstate Insurance Company of Canada)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20140930_C2496_PHOTO_EN_6115.jpg

SOURCE: Allstate Insurance Company of Canada

For further information: For more information about the distracted driver survey results or to speak to an Allstate Canada spokesperson, please contact: April Gibson, Thornley Fallis Communications, T: 416-515-7517 ext.323, gibson@thornleyfallis.com

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