Distracted driving is a major problem globally as well as in Canada with a latest survey finding that a third of Canadians are still using their mobile phones while at the red lights – a driving habit according to Canadian Automobile Association (CAA).
According to the survey wherein 2,012 Canadians responded, one in every three Canadians is texting while driving. The numbers are startling considering that 70 per cent of Canadians believe that use of a mobile phone while at the red light is unacceptable.
The admittance by 33 per cent of Canadians that they text while at the red light is troubling because of the fact that the effect of a text message sent or received while at the red light lingers on after the driver has started driving says Jeff Walker, vice-president of public affairs for CAA National.
Studies have shown that our minds stay distracted for up to 27 seconds after interacting with a phone and the habit of texting while at the red light could have repercussions on one’s ability to drive properly.
“It’s socially unacceptable to drive drunk, and that’s where we need to get with texting,” says Walker. “Attitudes are beginning to shift, but our actions need to follow.”
CAA Statistics on Distracted Driving
Texting and Driving
- Drivers who text are 23 times more likely to be involved in a crash or near crash event compared with non-distracted drivers. (Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, 2010)
- Checking a text for 5 seconds means that at 90 km/h, you’ve travelled the length of a football field blindfolded.
- About 26% of all car crashes involve phone use, including hands-free phone use. (National Safety Council)
- Estimates indicate drivers using phones look at, but fail to see, up to 50% of the information in their driving environment. (National Safety Council, 2012)
- 80% of collisions and 65% of near crashes have some form of driver inattention as contributing factors. (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2010)
- Driver distraction is a factor in about 4 million motor vehicle crashes in North America each year.
- 10% of fatal crashes, 18% of injury crashes, and 16% of all police-reported motor vehicle traffic crashes were distraction-affected crashes. (National Highway Safety Administration, 2015)
- Distraction was a factor in nearly 6 out of 10 moderate-to-severe teen crashes. (AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, 2015)
- Almost half of all people killed in teen (15-19 years old) distraction-affected crashes were teens themselves. (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2013)
The Economics of Distracted Driving
- Economic losses caused by traffic collision-related health care costs and lost productivity are at least $10 billion annually. That’s about 1% of Canada’s GDP! (Government of Canada)
- The economic and social consequence of road crashes in Canada is estimated to be $25 billion per year, including direct and indirect cost, as well as pain and suffering. (Traffic Injury Research Foundation)