Distracted driving on the rise across Canada

Man texting while driving his car

Despite efforts by law enforcers to clamp down on distracted driving, it seems Canadian’s are still finding themselves in fender benders thanks to wavering attention.

Distracted driving ranges from cell phone use to eating lunch on the go, and runs the risk of penalties and fines if a driver is pulled over by the police. However, a claims assessment by Aviva Canada, reveals that a hefty chunk of accidents across the country are the result of distractions-and turns out, most of them could be prevented!

Between 2016 and 2018, the insurer discovered 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%.

In Ontario the claims rate rose 12%, with an increase of 18% in the GTA.

"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.

It seems the biggest distraction is the cell phone, with 95% of Canadians admitting that texting and driving by other road users makes them feel unsafe. Furthermore, 88% of drivers have witnessed others texting behind the wheel, and 78% voiced the need for a technology solution that would take away the temptation to text.

Police increased the penalty for distracted driving back in March of 2014, in hopes that it would be able to tackle the problem. After a 2013 government survey found that distracted driving surpassed impaired driving and speeding as the number one cause of deaths on Canadian roads, the price for a conviction rose to $280 in Ontario.

However, Aviva’s findings show that there is still a lot of work to be done. 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.

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