Distracted Driver

Canadians falling victim to distracted driving

It seems distracted driving is on the rise in Canada, despite efforts by law enforcers.

Distracted driving ranges from using your cell phone to eating a snack while behind the wheel, and can leave you with penalties and hefty fines if a driver is pulled over by the police. However, a claims assessment by Aviva Canada has revealed that a huge percentage of accidents across the country come as the result of distractions-most of which could be avoided.

From 2016 to 2018, the insurer revealed that there was a national rise of 23% for claims that came as the result of distracted driving. Furthermore, Albertans are the most guilty, with accident claims as the result of absent minded drivers jumping a whopping 58%.

"Despite increased penalties and awareness on this issue, too many Canadians are still driving distracted behind the wheel. The majority of these accidents are preventable – such as hitting stationary objects, rear ending other vehicles and inattentive lane changes," says Phil Gibson, Chief Underwriting Officer at Aviva Canada.

Unsurprisingly, the most tempting distraction for drivers comes in the form of their cell phone. In fact, 95% of Canadians have admitted that texting and driving by other road users makes them feel unsafe. An additional 88% admitted that had witnessed others texting behind the wheel, and 78% voiced the need for a technology solution that would take away the temptation to text. Furthermore, a recent study by market research group Leger, found that 88% of surveyed Canadian’s believe that drivers under the age of 34 are most likely to be distracted.

However, while this age group are deemed most likely to let their attention wander, they were also pretty honest about it, with 69% of under 34s admitting this seemed likely for their peers. Although a large proportion of younger respondents were honest about averting their attention while behind the wheel, they’re also less likely to believe that their behaviours cause them to lose focus.

Under current laws in Ontario, a driver caught driving unsafely can face a fine of $280 points Traffic tickets can also have other repercussions, including seeing higher insurance rates. Aviva’s findings show despite the disciplinary action currently in practise, there is still a lot of work to be done to ensure safety on our roads. The insurer has launched a new campaign to educate and encourage road users about how to avoid finding themselves in a sticky situation. The “Undistracted Campaign” offers tip and reminders to Canadian’s, including:   

  • Prepare your music playlist, podcast, or audio book ahead of time;
  • Keep your phone out of reach;
  • Enable your phone's Do Not Disturb While Driving feature;
  • Avoid eating while driving;
  • Take the time to master your car's voice commands;
  • Keep pets safely secured in the back seat or in a crate;
  • Prepare for your drive before you leave.