Young Canadians Think Phone Use While Driving is Acceptable

Published: October 17, 2016

Updated: July 24, 2018

Author: Luke Jones



Distracted driving is a problem for all people in Canada. It causes victims as the most deadly form of driving incident and also means general consumers end up paying more for their insurance. Companies must increase premiums when the risk is high, and now distracted driving is the biggest insurance risk on Canadian roads.

At Shop Insurance Canada, we have long said part of the problem is that drivers simply do not see distracted driving as breaking a law and treat it more like bending the rules. A new study seems to agree with this assessment. A study for National Teen Driver Safety Week found 71% of motorists between 16 and 24 do not consider phone use as a distraction when driving.

It is worth noting that the use of mobile devices is thought to account for around 90% of all distracted driving incidents. The poll was conducted by RIWI Group for the charitable organization Parachute. In a press release, the charity said 1,600 young drivers were asked in the study about their distracted driving thoughts. 39% of those asked said they text when driving.

“It’s concerning that while many teens are still choosing to use their phones while driving when research shows that texting behind the wheel is the same as driving with your eyes closed for five seconds,” said Pamela Fuselli, Parachute interim CEO, in the release.

Shop Insurance Canada has long called on the government to ramp up efforts to combat distracted driving. However, the insurance industry suffered a blow last month when the federal government said stricter laws against distracted driving are not on the agenda at this time.

That means insurers are left to work with existing measures to try to stop motorists from using devices and being distracted when driving. Hiking premiums is a good way to speak to many customers, but there could be a disconnect with young drivers. This demographic already pays steep premiums.