90% of Canadians admit to dangerous driving behaviour

Published: July 16, 2018

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It is widely accepted amongst law enforcement, governments, and insurance companies that distracted driving is a major problem. Drivers are often willing to use a mobile device behind the wheel even in the face of rising penalties. Despite strict laws, distracted driving has overtaken impaired driving as the leading cause of road-related death in Canada. A new study shows the problem may be worse than imagined.

Allstate Insurance Company of Canada has published a study that finds nine in 10 Canadians may be too distracted to drive. Conducted by Léger on behalf of Allstate, the poll involved 1,013 Quebecers, 18 years of age or older.

The results found 91 per cent of participants engage in dangerous behaviour while driving, with 50 percent admitting to using their device through a hands-free solution. Still, just 22 per cent believe they are distracted drivers.

In a press release, Allstate claims in-car systems are innovating quickly, but are contributing to driver distraction:

“Car companies are outdoing themselves revolutionizing vehicles with built-in, hands-free multimedia and infotainment systems. Autonomous vehicles and assisted driving functions are also making their way to the market, with more in store for the future. However, these technology-driven features may be providing more opportunities for distraction, as drivers could feel a heighted sense of safety and allow their focus to shift away from the road.”

In the study, 38 per cent say they use integrated systems to change music, while 35 per cent use hands free options to see texts and emails. 25 per cent use phones to make or receive a call, take an image, while 23 per cent use GPS while driving. Additional data shows 9 per cent of Quebec-based motorists claim to never engage in dangerous driving behaviour.

"We can't avoid new technology and the changes that come with it; and nor would we want to. Our cars are becoming safer," says André Parra, Regional Claims Director at Allstate Insurance Company of Canada. "However, what we need to do is ensure it's being used properly, as opposed to creating more distractions for drivers."