But alarming number of drivers admit to occasionally breaking the law
BURNABY, BC, Jan. 26 /CNW/ -After a year of not being able to talk on a
hand-held phone or text while driving, many B.C. drivers say they're
more attentive behind the wheel and that our roads seem safer. In a
BCAA online survey of 2,139 drivers, 57 per cent said they think our
roads are safer as a result of the law restricting the use of mobile
electronics while driving. In addition, 34 per cent said they are
paying more attention to the way they drive because of the law.
As for how, and how many, drivers continue to talk on cell phones while
driving, 14 per cent of those surveyed talk "frequently" (more than
once a week) using a hands-free device. Only three per cent admitted to
talking frequently using a hand-held phone, but almost 13 per cent said
they continue to talk "occasionally" on a hand-held phone.
On the other hand, 80 per cent of those surveyed said they frequently
observe other drivers talking on hand-held phones. And what do they do
when they see another driver with a phone to his/her ear? Over half -
55 per cent - say they give a dirty look or gesture to the driver to
get off the phone. Three per cent roll down the window and say
something to the other driver, while two per cent write down their
license plate number and give it to the police.
"While BCAA doesn't recommend engaging with other drivers over their
cell phone and texting habits, the responses to this survey suggest
drivers are frustrated by those who continue to disobey the law," said
Trace Acres, BCAA's Director of Corporate Communications and Public
Affairs. "Although awareness of, and compliance with, the law appears
to be high, it seems we still have a ways to go to make everyone
understand the dangers of driving while distracted."
Ad campaigns aimed at educating drivers about the dangers of
distractions are, according to the survey, less effective today that
they were six months ago. Today, 47 per cent of survey respondents
think the provincial government is effectively informing and educating
drivers about the dangers of talking on a hand-held phone, compared to
54 per cent of those surveyed six months ago. Similarly, 46 per cent
think a good job is being done to warn drivers about the dangers of
texting while driving, compared to 56 per cent who said so six months
Enforcement is something else that drivers who took this survey say has
slipped. Six months ago, 26 per cent of the survey respondents felt you
had a good chance of being caught and ticketed for texting or talking
on a hand-held phone. Today, that number is just 15 per cent.
Other survey highlights:
Four per cent of drivers surveyed continue to read and send text
messages "frequently" (more than once a week) while driving, and seven
percent said they text "occasionally." The large majority of drivers
surveyed - 89 per cent - said they do not text while driving.
Nearly all survey respondents identified reading (99 per cent) and
texting (98 per cent) as dangerous driving distractions. Talking on a
hand-held phone was declared dangerous by 88 per cent of those
surveyed, while a lesser, but still significant number - 39 per cent -
said talking on a hands-free phone is also dangerous. Other activities
that most survey respondents said are dangerous include grooming, such
as shaving or applying make-up (92 per cent), and holding a pet in your
lap (85 per cent).
Survey participants said they see more drivers talking on a hand-held
phone (80 per cent frequently) than they see drivers eating and
drinking (68 per cent frequently).
BCAA strives to deliver an amazing experience to its 795,000 members,
providing peace-of-mind and meeting their automotive, road travel and
insurance needs. BCAA is the largest organization of its kind in B.C.,
with $400 million in gross annual sales and a Member in one-in-four
B.C. households. In addition to receiving award winning roadside
assistance and insurance services, Members can also take advantage of
CAA dollar rewards, insurance discounts and the Member exclusive Show
Your Card & Save program. To learn more about BCAA's benefits, services
and advocacy, visit www.bcaa.com.
SOURCE British Columbia Automobile Association
For further information:
For further information, or to request an interview, please contact:
BCAA Public Affairs Advisor
Office: 604-268-5342 (M-F between 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.)
Cell: 778-228-8859 (any time)