Parents remain concerned about distracted driving in young drivers

Published: December 3, 2018



Distracted driving is becoming an increasing problem around Canada, with most provinces citing the infraction as the leading cause of injury and fatalities on roads. Smartphones are the center of the problem and unfortunately the handheld devices are a fundamental part of the lives of young drivers.

Indeed, many teenagers progressing to driver age have lived their lives with mobile devices and parents are concerned about newly licensed teems being too distracted. A study by the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia shows distraction was the leading factor in 58% of collisions amongst drivers aged 16 to 19.

So, parents are right to be concerned, but distracted driving is a problem for everyone. “When it comes to preventing distracted driving, people often worry about their teenage drivers — but what about conversations happening at the office or while people are on the job?” points out Jordan Solway, Group General Counsel and Vice President of Claim, Travelers Canada.

The Travelers’ Institute commissioned a study that showed the need for organizations to be able to identify the risks of distracted driving. Results found 37 percent of motorists in Canada admit to communicating on a mobile device while driving. 14 percent of those say they need to stay connected for work purposes.

“When you’re involved in a conference call, you’re paying less attention to your surroundings,” Solway said. “Driving is a complex function that requires visual (eyes on the road), physical (hands on the wheel) and cognitive processing. Taking your eyes off the road for just two seconds actually doubles your chances of an accident.”

“In Ontario, similar to other provinces, it really does not matter if the vehicle is owned by the employee or the organization, if there is an accident caused by distracted driving and the driver was in the course and scope of his or her employment, the organization can be held liable,” Solway added. “This isn’t something just big businesses need to worry about.  In fact, the opposite. A distracted driving judgment against a smaller, neighborhood business has the potential to have significant financial consequences.”