The arrival of spring and cherry blossom season in Vancouver makes me keen to get out of the house and out into the world – while staying safe, of course. Staying safe is not only masks and physical distancing. Perhaps the number one way to stay safe on the roads is to avoid distracted driving.
Distracted driving is when a driver’s attention is diverted from the driving task by secondary activities (e.g., eating, talking to passengers, talking or texting on electronic communication devices (ECDs) such as cell phones and smart phones).
The specifics of what constitutes distracted driving, varies between provinces and territories.
CanadaDrives.ca, who created the infographic above, has put together an excellent article that reviews the distracted driving penalties in each province and territory.
According to data from Transport Canada’s National Collision Database, distracted driving contributed to an estimated 21% of fatal collisions and 27% of serious injury collisions in 2016. These statistics show an upward trend in distracted driving incidents: fatal collisions were 16% and serious injury collisions 22% a decade earlier.
Transport Canada encourages every driver to take responsibility and drive distraction-free:
- Never text while driving, even when you are stopped in traffic or at a traffic light
- If you must send or receive a call or text, pull over to a safe location and park your car first
- Avoid using any device that may take your attention away from the task of driving, including your car’s navigation or infotainment systems
- Keep your eyes on the road and safely control your vehicle at all times
- Encourage friends and family to drive distraction-free
When I get in the driver’s seat of my car, I put my phone on silent and put it in the glove compartment. It can be really hard to do – I’m attached to my phone like everyone else. But I remind myself that even if someone calls or texts me, they would want me to drive safe rather than answer – for my sake and those I share the road with.
~ Kate T.