Student tally during rush hour uncovers top distractions
TORONTO, Sept. 28, 2011 /CNW/ - Canadian students took to the streets in
three cities this morning to find out how bad it really is on the roads
in their communities. The students, who were participating in Allstate
Insurance Company of Canada's Action Against Distraction "Blow the
Whistle" driver tally, recorded the number of drivers who were not
paying full attention during their morning commute, counting the number
of people who were using cellphones, eating and drinking, putting on
makeup or fixing their hair. After only one hour of counting, at just
three city intersections (one each in Moncton, Montreal and Toronto),
the students discovered 802 drivers were distracted while they drove.
Allstate Agents from Calgary, Edmonton, Sudbury, Ottawa, Windsor and
Halifax also did similar counts at busy intersections within their
communities and found an additional 619 distracted drivers for a total
of 1421 distracted drivers.
"Driving while distracted is the equivalent of driving after drinking
four beers, so even one distracted driver is one too many," says Saskia
Matheson, spokesperson for Allstate Canada. "All Canadian provinces now
have distracted driving legislation in place, but it is not enough.
Drivers need to be reminded of the dangers of taking their eyes off the
road or hands off the wheel even for a few seconds," adds Matheson.
Students from Riverview High School in the Greater Moncton area,
Rosemount High School in Montreal and Northern Secondary School in
Toronto counted distracted drivers between 7:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. at
one busy intersection in each city by standing discreetly on all four
corners to determine the type and number of distractions.
Key findings from the Blow the Whistle driver tally:
There was a total of 802 distractions counted over the hour from the
student tallies, with 199 taking place in Toronto, 314 in Montreal, and 289 in Moncton;
An additional 619 of distractions were also counted by Allstate Agents,
with 190 in Calgary, 151 in Edmonton, 59 in Sudbury, 63 in Ottawa, 59 in Windsor, and 97 in Halifax;
Eating/drinking was the most common distraction, with a total of 25 per
cent of all distracted driving behavior in all nine cities;
This was followed by talking to other passengers and smoking that came
in second and third respectively at 17 per cent and 16 per cent;
Talking on a phone or texting made up 15 per cent of all counted
A complete table of tallies can be found here: http://goodhandsadvice.ca/media/distraction/Blow_the_Whistle_Distracted_Driver_Tally_EN.pdf.
In 2010, Allstate Canada and Leger Marketing conducted a distracted
driving survey where 75 per cent of Canadians admitted to engaging in
distracted driving behaviours. The combined results from the Blow the
Whistle driver tally are indicating that this behaviour has not been
reduced in the last year.
Montreal students also experienced first-hand what it's like to drive
while distracted at a distracted driving course set-up at Olympic Park
following the Blow the Whistle event. Students and media quickly
learned what happens when they try to drive while texting, using an
iPod or even talking to passengers. Using orange pylons as stand-ins
for pedestrians and other cars, drivers smashed into the pylons and
frequently had to break or swerve to avoid hitting them.
"Taking your eyes off the road for five seconds while driving at 90 km/h
is like driving the length of a football field completely blind," says
Matheson. "Allstate is committed to keeping the roads throughout
Canadian communities as safe as possible for all drivers. Ignoring the
rules of the road endangers the lives of everyone in the vehicle and in
the vicinity. The Action Against Distraction program encourages all
drivers to drive safely and distraction-free."
Student volunteers in all three cities urged fellow teens, teachers and
parents arriving at their school to sign the Action Against Distraction
online pledge at www.goodhandsadvice.ca/distraction. The website also includes a contract template for parents and teens to
determine, and agree upon, the consequences they will face should they
All provinces and the Yukon have legislation that makes it illegal for
drivers to talk, text, type, dial or email using hand-held cellphones
and other hand-held communications devices.
Other safety advocates that participated in the September 28, 2011 event
included the Toronto Police Services, Service de police de la Ville de
Montréal, Codiac Regional RCMP (Moncton) and MADD Canada. Photos from
the events are available for download at www.flickr.com/AllstateCanada.
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 93 community-based Agencies, directly online at www.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. In 2010, Allstate Canada, in partnership with
the National Hockey League Players' Association (NHLPA), created the
Allstate All-Canadians program, a mentorship program designed to guide
the next generation of Canada's hockey youth. Learn more at www.allstate.all-canadians.com.
SOURCE Allstate Insurance Company of Canada
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