Distracted driving is one of the most dangerous and costly contributors to collisions in Canada. According to the Canadian Auto Association (CAA), “80% of collisions and 65% of near crashes have some form of driver inattention as contributing factors” and distracted driving is directly responsible for “10% of fatal crashes, 18% of injury crashes, and 16% of all police-reported motor vehicle traffic crashes.”

Distracted Driving by the Numbers

You might think that you don’t ‘drive distracted’ but you might be surprised. Rates.ca found that 71% of drivers admitted to adjusting their music device while driving, 87% to eating or drinking, 60% to looking or talking to passengers, 51% to reaching into the back seat, 47% to talking on the phone, 35% to adjusting their GPS, and 13% to putting on makeup all of these activities qualify as distracted driving.

Leading Cause of Collisions

Distracted driving is nothing short of an epidemic, and it has very serious consequences. According to the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, cited by the Insurance Bureau of Canada, “you are 23 times more likely to be involved in a collision if you text while driving and 4 times more likely if you talk on a cellphone (hand-held or hands-free) while driving.” Which is why CAA claims that “about 26% of all car crashes involve phone use, including hands-free phone use.”

Furthermore even if you are talking on a hands free device you are still not focussing on the road. In fact one study indicated that a driver using a hands free device might visually see something, but fail to register about 50% of the information.

Teen Drivers at Highest Risk

Unsurprisingly, teens are more affected by distracted driving than adults. CAA found that “distraction was a factor in nearly 6 out of 10 moderate-to-severe teen crashes” which has led to the fact that “almost half of all people killed in teen (15-19 years old) distraction-affected crashes were teens themselves.”

Distracted Driving Laws

Despite the prevalence of distracted driving in Canada, we do have laws that are designed to deter it in order to prevent the disastrous consequences that it can cause. Every province and territory (except for Nunavut) now has a law against distracted driving:

  •      Alberta: $287 fine and 3 demerit points
  •      British Columbia: $543 first offence, $888 second offense, and 4 demerit points
  •      Manitoba: $200 fine, and 5 demerit points
  •      New Brunswick: $172.50 fine, and 3 demerit points
  •      Newfoundland and Labrador: $100 – $400, and 4 demerit points
  •      Northwest Territories: $322 or  $644 (in construction zones), and 3 demerit points
  •      Nova Scotia: $233.95 (first offense), $348.95 (second offence), and 4 demerit points.
  •      Nunavut: Nothing
  •      Ontario: $490- $1000, and 3 demerit points
  •      Prince Edward Island: $500 – $1200, and 5 demerit points
  •      Quebec: $80 – $100, and 4 demerit points
  •      Saskatchewan: $280, and 4 demerit points
  •      Yukon: $250, and 3 demerit points

Both Ontario and British Columbia have specific legislation addressing the use of handheld devices. Alberta has similar legislation which was expanded to include all forms of distraction, including eating.

Have You Been Accused of Distracted Driving?

Distracted driving is clearly still a major issue in Canada with deadly consequences – it is unsafe and irresponsible. Even if police don’t charge the driver with distracted or careless driving; they still may have been driving in an unsafe and dangerous way. Any driver that is distracted and causes an accident may be negligent, and therefore liable for any damages or injuries that result. If you or a loved one  have been involved in an accident that  resulted in injuries, you may be able to bring a claim for compensation. Contact Zayouna Law and  speak to our professional team of personal injury lawyers immediately.