More than half of Canadians admit their cellphone distracts them while driving: survey

Sep 25 2019, 7:25 am

Despite stricter penalties and new hands-free technologies to help curb the problem, more than half of Canadian drivers admit to using their cellphone while driving.

Results from the latest Desjardins national survey reveal that 53% of Canadian drivers admit to having been distracted by their cellphones behind the wheel at least once, up from 38% in 2018.

Canadians are also aware of how dangerous distracted driving is with 32% of respondents saying it’s the riskiest driving behaviour, just behind alcohol-impaired driving at 35%.

Still, Canadians seem to believe the problem lies with other drivers as 84% claim they “often or always see” others driving distracted by cellphones.

What do Canadians think are the top three risk factors for drivers today? (Desjardins)

“It’s clear that distracted driving remains a serious road safety risk,” said Denis Dubois, President and Chief Operating Officer of Desjardins General Insurance Group. “It’s important to continue to bring awareness to this serious issue as we need to make distracted driving as socially unacceptable as drinking and driving. Stricter penalties and technology help but distracted driving is preventable and changing our behaviours will save lives.”

When asked about the factors that distract them while driving:

  • Half of Canadian respondents (49%) said external surroundings
  • 45% said cellphone related distractions ( texting, calling, emailing, etc.)
  • 41% said changing the vehicle’s console/infotainment system

What are Canadians distracted by while driving? (Desjardins)

When asked about what specifically drivers are using their cellphones for, 42% say they use it to look at GPS apps, and 37% admit to using their phone for calls and messages while operating a vehicle.

The survey concluded by asking drivers what would stop them from distracted driving and getting into a vehicle collision ranked first at 43%. Increased fines followed at 26% and the possibility of auto insurance premium rising came in third at 21%.

What would more likely stop you from driving distracted? (Desjardins)

The online survey, which was conducted in March 2019, polled 3,050 drivers across Canada. The full version can be found online.