A recent survey conducted on behalf of CAA South Central Ontario (CAA SCO) indicates 44 per cent of Ontario drivers admit to driving distracted at one point – up four per cent compared to last year. The most concerning distractions drivers noted include:
- Holding a mobile device.
- Making a video call.
- Typing in a destination.
- Watching TV.
Eating and drinking while driving is also a growing concern. In-vehicle features, including connected apps and console screens, are another source of distraction for drivers, especially if adjusted while on the road.
“Anything that can divert a driver’s eyes and mind off the road will always pose a threat while driving,” says Teresa Di Felice, assistant vice president for CAA SCO.
Distracted driving remains a significant concern among 90 per cent of drivers in Ontario. Despite the growing number of self-identified distracted drivers, only three per cent admit to being charged for distracted driving.
“While a vast majority of drivers recognize fines and penalties, including increased insurance rates, as the most effective ways to reduce distracted driving, our data shows that drivers have become less supportive of penalties that currently exist for distracted driving convictions,” says Di Felice.
Of those surveyed, 57 per cent support increasing fines and stricter penalties for distracted driving convictions.
“Currently, a driver can face a minimum fine of $615 up to $1,000, three demerit points and a three-day licence suspension for their first conviction of distracted driving,” says Di Felice. “But that’s not the only way it can cost you. A brief moment of distraction is all it takes for a collision.”
Almost two-thirds of drivers in Ontario (63 per cent) have witnessed close-call collisions or traffic violations caused by distracted drivers – up four per cent compared to last year. Meanwhile, 12 per cent of drivers reported being involved in a collision due to distracted driving, mainly because of using a mobile device.
“Whatever it is that you need to do – whether it’s sending that text, inputting your destination or setting up your playlist – do it all before you drive,” says Di Felice. “The risks of distracted driving are simply not worth it.”