Distracted Driving

Jean-Pierre Gagnon discusses the findings of Travelers Canada’s distracted driving survey. (Runtime: 3 min, 15 sec)

Size: 4.7 MB,   Time: 3 min, 14 sec Text transcript  Download

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Jean-Pierre Gagnon, vice-president of personal insurance for Travelers Canada, discusses the findings of the insurer’s distracted driving survey, and explains how we can all make roads safer.

Related Article: Travelers survey finds 37% of Canadian drivers admit to using a mobile device behind the wheel

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Text Transcript

Jean-Pierre Gagnon, vice-president of personal insurance for Travelers Canada.

What are some of the key findings of Travelers Canada’s distracted driving survey? We know that distracted driving is now, unfortunately, the most important cause of road fatalities, surpassing impaired driving and impacting everyone on our roads.

Brokers and insurers regrettably see the devastating outcomes of such high-risk behaviour. Travelers Canada wanted to contribute to the public conversation and help raise awareness to shift attitudes to get people to take action.

We surveyed almost 1,000 Canadian drivers across the provinces to understand the why behind distracted driving. Our new research revealed that 51% of Canadian drivers who answer or make communications while driving use their mobile device at least once a week. They feel compelled to do so because of family obligations, fear of missing out and because of work expectations to be constantly available.

Why are Canadians quick to pass the blame onto others when it comes to distracted driving? Our data shows a clear perception gap between drivers’ own behavior and that of others when it comes to distracted driving.

For example, 69% of Canadian drivers said the biggest distraction to others while driving is using a mobile device. However, only 24% think using a mobile device is the biggest distraction to their own driving.

Another disconnect revealed by our research is perhaps the personal bias we all have for our own safety versus that of others. In fact, 42% of respondents as passengers in a car have asked others to stop using their mobile devices while driving. At the same time, 33% have willingly called or texted someone they knew was driving.

How can the frequency of distracted driving be reduced? To disrupt or impact distracted driving will take everyone’s participation because it’s an issue that affects all of us. So even if you don’t think you’re the problem, you still share the road with everyone else who may be driving distracted.

From Travelers Canada’s point of view, we see the consequences of car accidents every day and we feel a responsibility to bring more attention to this public safety issue. We’re asking everyone to get involved—drivers, passengers, cyclists and even pedestrians—to help set the tone about what is socially acceptable behaviour on the road.

There are really simple things you can do to stay safe. When you get in a car, the strongest solution is to turn off your phone or, at the very least, put it in Do Not Disturb mode. Program your navigation system ahead of time. Do not multitask—do what you need to do prior to being on the road at home before you leave, be it eating, shaving or putting on makeup.

To move the needle, we’ll need everyone to help influence friends and family to adopt safe driving habits. So if you’re a driver, set a good example for everyone else in the car. And if you’re a passenger, speak up to distracted drivers. Speaking up could help save a life.

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