Seventy-five per cent of passengers feel unsafe with drivers that are distracted with their mobile devices
TORONTO, April 11, 2019 /CNW/ - A recent survey from InsuranceHotline.com found that over one in four Canadians (26 per cent) have checked messages while operating a car in motion and 41 per cent of Canadians said they are likely or somewhat likely to check their messages when stopped at a traffic light.
While 84 per cent of Canadians acknowledged having a mobile device with them when operating a vehicle, the survey also discovered that 75 per cent of respondents feel unsafe as a passenger when a driver is talking on the phone or texting.
"These are very alarming numbers," said Jacob Black from InsuranceHotline.com. "What people fail to realize is the number of accidents and fatalities that are caused by not having your complete attention on the road."
According to the National Collision Database, the agency that collects statistics on motor vehicle collisions throughout Canada, distracted drivers were involved in road incidents that resulted in 32,213 injuries and 310 deaths in 2016. That's more than any other infraction, including impaired driving.
"Distractions cause accidents—it's that simple. You're risking your life, the lives of your passengers and fellow road users when you allow yourself to be distracted as a driver. Canadians must realize that this behavior needs to stop," said Black.
As far as insurance rate increases go for drivers charged with distracted driving, most (65 per cent) respondents believed their premiums would increase by up to $249. In fact, distracted drivers will see a 25 per cent increase in their premiums. That translates to around a $360 increase in Ontario.
In addition, the legal penalties are strict and will lead to fines, license suspensions, demerit points and even vehicle seizures.
The InsuranceHotline.com survey also reveals
- Split on hands-free calling: 47 per cent of respondents believe answering or placing a call hands-free while driving is a safe practice while 53 per cent do not
- Navigation apps are distracting us: 55 per cent of drivers indicated that they use geo-navigational apps on their mobile phone when driving
- Three per cent of Canadians have admitted to watching a video while driving
- Eighty per cent of respondents expect the operators of vehicles who are driving their children to respect and understand the laws of distracted driving
- Male drivers are more likely than female drivers to check messages while driving (31 percent compared to 22 per cent)
Awareness of penalties exists but existing legislation may not be enough of a deterrent
Over 90 per cent of respondents (92%) were very or somewhat aware that they would incur a ticket if stopped by police for distracted driving and 60 per cent of drivers surveyed believe the penalties for distracted driving should be higher. However, upon learning that 310 Canadians were killed by distracted driving in one year, 44 per cent of survey respondents said they would change their behaviour.
"Use of mobile phones shows no signs of slowing down—Canadians must learn to change their driving habits or our roads will become increasingly dangerous," said Black.
About the survey
The First Annual InsuranceHotline.com Distracted Driving survey was conducted by Forum Research between March 25 to March 26, 2019 and polled 1095 respondents across Canada. The sample's age ranged from 18 to 65+ years old. To participate in the survey, respondents were required to be over 18 years old and have a driver's licence. Survey questions were presented via telephone and respondents provided answers through the touchpad of their mobile device or home phone.
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