Have you ever been easily tempted to answer a text message, pick up the phone, read emails or seek a radio station while driving from one place to another? People on a daily basis break the law by driving while distracted. Canadians seem to be unaware of the dangers that distracted driving can cause. Engaging in distractions such as reaching for a phone, dialling or texting with the use of hand-held phone and other portable devices can increase the risk of getting into a crash by three times. (2009, VTTI). Regardless of the pace in traffic, if your car is moving or in break at a red light distracted driving has led to many serious and or fatal accidents.
Recent Canadian polls have collected votes for Ontario’s distracted driving fines to be increased by more than $100. With young adults admitting to becoming easily distracted while on the roads from cellphones, applying make-up to even the radio. Lately Canada has been focusing on getting distracted driving accidents rates down as they notice tremendous incline with young adults. Driver distraction is responsible for up to 80% of car collisions, and cell phone use is becoming one of the largest reasons for being distracted. Due to the increase in accidents caused by distracted driving, Canada has all 10 provinces under a hands-free legislation.Still with legislation frequently being updated based on accident rates of distracted driving per year. Young adults are now being strongly targeted for awareness and tips that can achieve safer roads in Canada. Sheridan Visual Merchandising student Jamie is a young adult who has his G2, he admits to occasionally being distracted while driving with changing music with his iPod, and receiving/outgoing calls and texting.
“I usually put my cellphone on vibrate when I’m driving to and from home, but I still get tempted to pick up my phone if I believe I have a chance to do so.”
Jamie has also witnessed his parents using hand-held free electronics while driving and never seemed to be aware of the potentially dangerous outcomes.
“Even if I hear my cellphone vibrate while I’m driving, it’s still in the back of my mind that I have to answer my phone. I feel like I can get easily distracted regardless.”
The ICBC says 34% of young drivers involved in crashes over the past five years were distracted. Distracted driving does not only apply to smartphones, DVD players and radio, but also applying make-up, drinking/eating, reading, passenger/infant distractions, laptops, GPS and even pets. Driver distraction is a factor in about 4 million motor vehicle crashes in North America each year.
With the lack of awareness when it come to distracted driving, many organizations and websites have made up to provide clever tips to avoid distraction. The goal for public education is not only to raise awareness about this problem but also to persuade people to change their driving habits.
Tips to avoid distraction
- Use your cell phone only when you’re parked, or have a passenger take the call.
- Let calls go to voicemail; you can listen and call back once you are free.
- Turn off or put your cell phone on silent before you start driving.
- Preset your vehicle’s climate control, radio and or CD player before driving.
- Plan your route and set your GPS before you leave.
Websites that raise distracted driving awareness: