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The huge cost of distracted driving

Distracted driving is a very serious issue affecting road safety across the country

Distracted driving is a very serious issue affecting road safety across the country.

According to various sources checked by the Auto Dealers Against Distracted Driving campaign, here are some troubling stats from across the country:

British Columbia

Distracted driving continues to claim more lives on roads in British Columbia than impaired driving.

From 2011 to 2015 27 per of fatal crashes in B.C. were due to distraction.

On average, 78 people don’t make it home to their families every year because of distracted and inattentive drivers. By contrast, an average of 66 people die each year due to impaired driving.

Alberta

In 2015, young drivers represented 14 per cent of the province’s registered drivers, but made up more than 20 per cent of the drivers involved in casualty collisions.

One of the leading factors for the high rate of collisions amongst youth is distracted driving.

Distracted drivers are three times more likely to be involved in a collision than attentive drivers.

Saskatchewan

Distracted driving offences were at an all-time high in November 2017, despite the government’s attempts to toughen the laws around driving with a cellphone.

Distracted driving is the number one factor in all collisions in the province and the second leading cause of fatal crashes next to impaired driving.

There were roughly 8,300 collisions in Saskatchewan during 2016 in which distracted driving was a factor.

Manitoba

More than 860 Manitobans are injured each year due to distracted driving, 57 of them seriously.

One in three deaths and one in five serious injuries on Manitoba roads involve a distracted driver.

Drivers having a demanding phone conversation exhibited driving skills equivalent to having a 0.07 blood-alcohol content. (Manitoba’s legal limit is 0.05).

Ontario

In Ontario, deaths from collisions caused by distracted driving have doubled since 2000.

One person is injured in a distracted driving collision every half hour in Ontario.

Distracted driving is one of the biggest issues on Ontario roadways today. It has surpassed impaired driving as the number one killer on the roads.

Quebec

Distracted driving is the second-most common cause of fatal collisions on Quebec highways, according to la Sûreté du Québec.

Nearly one in 10 fatalities last year (a total of 24 deaths) were caused by distracted driving.

Distracted driving is the cause of a third of fatal vehicle accidents in Quebec.

New Brunswick

According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, three out of every four drivers admit to distracted driving, and chances of an accident in those cases are 23 times more likely.

Crashes on New Brunswick roads killed 64 people last year, including 20 people who were not using seatbelts.

Overall, there were 58 fatal collisions in 2016, up from 50 the previous year.

Nova Scotia

More than 140 Nova Scotians were killed or involved in a serious collision due to distracted driving in 2016, according to statistics released by RCMP.

Prince Edward Island

Drivers who use a hand-held communication device while driving could face fines ranging from $575 to $1,275 and five demerit points upon conviction.

Under the cell phone law, no one shall drive a motor vehicle on a highway while holding or using a hand-held wireless communication device that is capable of receiving or transmitting telephone communications, electronic data, email or text messages.

Newfoundland and Labrador

Newfoundland and Labrador deals with 1,018 convictions for distracted driving, annually.

While there are limited statistics available for the Yukon, you only need to watch other drivers on the road to see it’s a serious problem here as well.

The issue of distracted driving really hits home when a loved one is killed in a vehicle crash that may have been caused in part by distracted driving. This is the case with the Behan family here in Whitehorse who lost a child in a vehicle crash. They have tried to channel their pain into helping others avoid their tragedy by starting a group called Parents Against Distracted Driving. They have a Facebook page — they’d appreciate you liking their page and sharing some of their posts.

On my Facebook page, Driving With Jens, I also post regularly about distracted driving and would also appreciate you liking my page and sharing those posts. The more the issue is in front of us the better.

Governments across the country are really starting to pay attention to distracted driving. Much larger fines are on the way. It’s important for drivers to focus on the issue now.

As I wrote about last week, auto dealers across the country are asking you to join the campaign and take a pledge to drive distraction free. You can make your pledge to drive distraction free by visiting a participating auto dealer or by visiting: distractionfree.ca.

Catch Driving With Jens on CHON FM Thursdays at 8:15. If you have any questions or comments you can reach out to Jens Nielsen at drivingwithjens@gmail.com, Facebook or Twitter: @drivingwithjens.

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