TIRF report aims to find hard data distracted driving collisions

Published: December 11, 2015

Updated: July 24, 2018

Author: Luke Jones



It is well known that distracted driving accounts for a high proportion of road accidents and injuries or fatalities from those accidents, while it also known that cell phone use is the number one cause of distracted driving. However, there is a distinct lack of hard data and raw figures for exact amounts of auto collisions caused by distracted driving.

The Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF) highlighted this in a report it issued in collaboration with Ontario based auto insurance provider, Co-operators Group Ltd. To solve this problem, Co-operators says it will provide funding to TIRF so that it can create a working group dedicated to distracted driving related auto collisions.

"Because distracted driving is still an emerging issue, and one that falls under provincial jurisdiction, bringing together stakeholders to help develop a strategic plan at a national level will be very valuable work," stated Kathy Bardswick, president and chief executive officer of The Co-operators, in a release.

The TIRF has created a report entitled Distracted Driving in Canada: Making Progress, Taking Action that says there are two areas specifically that need to be addressed, what type of distraction is most common in causing a collision and finding the characteristics of distracted driving.

"The information in this report will serve as a resource for the National Working Group on Distracted Driving as well as decision-makers across the country who share our concern for road safety," Bardswick added.

The report was compiled in the wake of a questionnaire and interviews: "A total of 40 individuals representing organizations in seven different provinces participated and completed the online scan."

"While one-quarter (24%) of respondents indicated that insurance premiums were indeed affected by distracted driving crashes, almost three-quarters (74%) said they did not know if this was the case," TIRF noted. "Yet when asked if distracted driving offences should be reflected in insurance premiums, the large majority (85%) of respondents indicated yes.”

Several provinces are starting to get stricter on distracted driving offences, such as Ontario where Bill 31 was passed this year raising the minimum fine from $60 to $300 and the maximum fine from $500 to $1000.