One third of Ontario drivers admit to distracted driving

Published: October 26, 2016

Updated: July 24, 2018

Author: Luke Jones



There continue to be worrying pointers that drivers are failing to understand the dangers of distracted driving. Around on in three (32 percent) drivers in Ontario confess that their drive while distracted in a new survey by Ipsos for CAA South Central Ontario (CAA SCO). The survey also finds that mobile devices are the chief reason why drivers are willing to break the law with distracted driving.

Drivers remain unaware of the risks of distracted driving. It is an infraction of the law that is punishable by fines, while insurance companies are increasingly coming down hard on distracted drivers with increased premiums. It is also the biggest cause of traffic injury and death in Ontario, with mobile devices far and away the most frequent type of distracted driving.

The CAA SCO survey shows “the number one reason for not focusing on the road is because someone called”. Released this week, the study was conducted among a sample of 801 licensed drivers in Ontario. Ipsos notes that the credibility interval for the survey is +/- 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

Other findings in the study include the top 10 reasons why drivers operate vehicles while distracted:

  • Someone has called (44%)
  • Emergency purposes (33%)
  • Contacting an appointment (27%)
  • Reading a text (26%)
  • Talking to a spouse (21%)
  • Talking to parents (17%)
  • Multi-tasking (15%)
  • Work (11%)
  • Bored at red light (11%)
  • Talking to children (9%)

“There is no excuse for driving distracted,” said Teresa Di Felice, CAA SCO’s director of government and community relations, in the release. “Making a phone call or sending a text message isn’t worth putting your life or someone else’s at risk.”