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The Impact of Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is any activity that takes a driver's eyes off the road, hands off the wheel or mind off the primary task of driving safely.  Below are some alarming statistics:

  • Distracted drivers are 3 times more likely to be in  a crash than attentive drivers (Alberta Transportation, 2011)
  • Drivers who are texting are 23 times more likely to be involved in a crash or near crash event compared with non-distracted drivers.  Drivers talking on a cell phone are 4 to 5 times more likely to be impacted.
  • Driver distraction is a factor in about 4 million motor vehicle crashes in North America each year
  • Economic losses caused by traffic collision-related health care costs and lost productivity are at least $10 billion annually, which is about 1% of Canada's GDP (Government of Canada)
  • In 2010, distracted driving was a contributing factor in 104 collision fatalities in British Columbia (RCMP)
  • International research shows that 20 to 30% of all collisions involve driver distraction (Alberta Transportation, 2011)

The top driving distractions identified by CAA/AAA are:

  1. Outside object/person/event
  2. Adjusting radio/CD player
  3. Other vehicle occupants
  4. Something moving in the car (passenger, pet, etc)
  5. Using another object/device
  6. Adjusting car's climate controls
  7. Eating/drinking
  8. Cellular phones

Here are some tips to avoid distracted driving:

Before you drive:

  • Allow plenty of travel time
  • Review all maps and directions
  • Stow and secure loose objects in their proper place
  • Prepare children with everything they need
  • Secure pets properly
  • Pre-program route on GPS devices

While you're driving:

  • Allow phone calls to go to voicemail
  • Do not text, surf the web or read emails
  • Do not eat, drink or groom
  • Do not smoke
  • Keep your eyes and mind on the road

Distracted driving is dangerous and all too common, as it is one of the leading causes of motor vehicle crashes in the North America.  As a result, all 10 provinces in Canada have some form of cell phone/distracted driving legislation in place.  Dedicating ourselves to and reinforcing safe driving practices will make them second nature and save lives in the process.