Be honest: have you ever checked your phone while driving? Most people have – and it’s a huge problem. If you’re guilty of using your phone when you should be focused on the road, read up on these five important facts about distracted driving.
- Texting and driving is a top safety concern for Canadian drivers – but people are doing it anyways. A report from Canadian underwriter highlights thattexting and driving is tied with drunk driving as Canadians’ top road safety concern, which should mean that people are taking extra precautions to ensure they’re not distracted behind the wheel, right? Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Law enforcement officials in many provinces are reporting that distracted driving is at an all time high. In addition to texting and driving, a disturbing new trend of taking video while driving is adding to the number of distracted drivers on the road.
- Checking your phone while driving increases your odds of being in an accident. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that looking at your phone while driving increases your odds of being in an accident. According to the Government of Ontario, someone is injured in a distracted driving incident every half hour, and texting increases the odds of being in an accident by 25 percent. The Insurance Bureau of Canada reports that in almost 80 percent of accidents, drivers were distracted for up to three seconds before the collision. Even if you think you can safely glance at your phone, consider the fact that if you’re driving 90 kilometres an hour on the highway, taking your eyes off the road for four seconds is the equivalent of driving the full length of a football field – blind.
- You need to put your phone away to get rid of the distraction. You know that antsy feeling you get when you see a message notification pop up on your phone? It’s a problem when driving – even if you don’t pick it up. Studies have shown that the mere presence of your smartphone impairs your ability to perform tasks that require focus – and driving certainly requires your full attention. To get rid of the distraction, put your phone in the glove compartment when you’re on the road, and only get it out once you are parked somewhere safe.
- New, stricter laws are continuously being implemented. Given the seriousness of the issue, it’s no surprise that lawmakers are looking for ways to crack down on distracted drivers. In Ontario, drivers can see an automatic license suspension upon conviction of distracted driving. And, if distracted driving results in a deadly accident, guilty drivers in the province could face a charge of careless driving that comes with a $50,000 fine.
- A conviction for distracted driving can increase your insurance premium. If you’re concerned about the amount you’re paying for car insurance, a distracted driving charge won’t help. This charge is something that shopping for insurance quotes can’t necessarily solve as some insurance companies can deny new customers based on a bad driving record. In British Columbia, for example, distracted drivers will be required to pay a Driver Risk Premium to the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, and, in addition to premium increases with each offence, drivers with multiple convictions could face a driving record review, resulting in three-to-12-month driving prohibitions.
Hopefully, the scary statistics about distracted driving accidents are enough to convince you to put the phone down when you’re behind the wheel. If not, remind yourself of the financial costs associated with a distracted driving charge every time you’re tempted to check your text messages. And if you can’t help yourself, put your phone out of sight and out of mind for the duration of your drive; we promise – there is no text message or phone call important enough to risk the safety of you and your fellow drivers.