Aviva Canada: Canadians want technology to solve distracted driving

Published: September 22, 2017

Updated: July 24, 2018

Author: Luke Jones



A new opinion poll from Aviva Canada show 78 per cent Canadians in Newfoundland and Labrador, Alberta and Ontario want to see a technology-based solution to prevent distracted driving. Customers believe technology will be able to prevent them using devices while behind the wheel.

Aviva Canada, the country’s second biggest P&C insurance provider, commissioned an online poll of 1,504 Canadians. The study was conducted by Toronto-based firm Pollara Strategic Insights between Aug. 8 and 13. Participants needed to be 18 years of age and over and have an insurance policy on their home or vehicle. Pollara Strategic says the margin of error for a probability sample of 1,504 is ±2.5%, 19 times out of 20.

95% of respondents (598 in Ontario, 603 in Alberta, and 303 in Newfoundland and Labrador) say that they feel unsafe when other text and drive. Interestingly, this is against general studies that many drivers are willing to participate in distracted driving. In other words, many drivers admit to feeling unsafe around distracted driving, but will text and drive themselves.

In Aviva Canada’s study, 22% admit to texting and driving:

“For the first time, what we are seeing is that Canadians don’t think social persuasion or law enforcement strategies against distracted driving are working, and they feel technology is the only realistic answer,” Aviva Canada president and CEO Greg Somerville said in the release.

The poll finds Canadians are aware that authorities and organizations are working to create a social stigma around distracted driving, much like the situation around impaired driving. At the same time, 47% of respondents say higher fines and demerit points will act as a deterrent, while 32% believe stronger peer pressure will work.

Canadians are aware of efforts to socially stigmatize distracted driving, the poll found, and they are also aware of increased penalties and demerit points. However, 47% of Canadians think fines and demerits are a deterrent, while only 32% said they think peer pressure will work.

78% (90% in Newfoundland and Labrador, 73% in Ontario and 76% in Alberta) “feel that insurance companies, auto manufacturers and government should begin immediately to find a technology solution to limit distracted driving,” the poll said. “This week (Sept. 19) Apple’s new iOS operating system debuted a ‘do not disturb while driving’ feature,” Aviva Canada added in the release. “This is progress as almost three-quarters of Canadians (73 per cent) in our poll said they would use anti-texting technology.”