Sudbury describes distracted driving as a public health issue

Published: June 30, 2018

Updated: July 24, 2018

Author: Luke Jones

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We are used to distracted driving being described as a major problem in Canada, a legal issue that authorities and governments are struggling to come to terms with. However, health authorities in Sudbury, Ontario are now also distracted driving as a public health issue and are joining the effort to combat the infraction.

The city is pushing for further education for motorists and the public. In an interview with CBC News, Public Health Sudbury and Districts nurse, Raymond Beaudry, confirmed the city’s health infrastructure is collaborating with the Sudbury Road Safety Committee to combat distracted driving.

Like in other municipalities and provinces across Canada, Beaudry says distracted driving is the leading cause of fatalities and injury on roads.

“Honestly, I don’t blame anyone for texting and driving, especially the youth,” he says. “People from 16-24, statistics are showing they’re more common to go toward their phone and it’s because it’s become a pertinent part of their lives,” said Beaudry.

During last year, Greater Sudbury Police issued 145 tickets for distracted driving. This year the problem is clearly escalating and has already topped 2017 with over 180 tickets issued. Joe Rocca, the Chair of the Sudbury Road Safety Committee, said the city has a problem with distracted driving, with a person getting injured every 30 minutes on average.

Public educations programs will be the focus of the committee, including social media campaigns that will reach out to younger motorists.

“Simply holding a phone or other device while driving is against the law and holds a fine of up to $1000 and up to three demerit points,” said Carmel McDonald, Ontario Provincial Police Media Relations/Community Safety Officer.