Young drivers in Canada are often depicted as the main culprits in the rise of distracted driving. While all motorists use a device behind the wheel, it is young drivers who are most likely to do so. However, Canadians from the Millennial generation have the will to tell a driver to stop using a device behind the wheel.
Travelers Canada has published the results of a survey that shows Millennials are the most likely passengers to ask drivers to stop using a mobile device.
Many cities and provinces in Canada claim distracted driving is now the leading cause of road-related injury and death, while major carriers say it is a big factor in requests for auto insurance premium rate increases.
Jordan Solway, group general counsel and vice president of claims for Travelers Canada, says authorities and insurers still have a problem detecting distracted driving. He says drivers will not always admit to driving while using an electronic device. While monitoring devices are becoming more popular, Solway says evidence is often lacking:
“However, we have seen accident rates increase in certain areas, particularly with respect to rear-end collisions and sometimes there is no evidence of braking, which would suggest that the driver was not paying attention,” he told Canadian Underwriter Friday. “The fact remains that distracted driving has now surpassed impaired driving as the leading cause of highway-related fatalities and that validates the view that there has been an increase in claims involving distracted driving in general.”
In its survey, Travelers Canada found 59% of Canadian Millennials (18-34) say they have asked a driver to stop using a mobile device while they were a passenger. In comparison, 41% of residents aged 35-44 have done the same. 45% of those aged 45-54 have told a passenger to put down their device, followed by just 30% of people aged 55 and older.
“It is particularly compelling – and encouraging – to see that the demographic most comfortable with asking a driver to put down their mobile device is Canadian youth,” said Solway.
Canadian Underwriter asked Solway the reasons behind the results:
“It is hard to say, but clearly there is an understanding of how distracting the use of device can be while driving and they appropriately feel empowered to raise their concerns,” Solway said. “This is a generation which is different than all others since they have been exposed to technology from an early age and have a high level of comfort with its use but also are cognizant of the dangers.”