May 18th, 2024

Distracted driving can be deadly


By Steffanie Costigan - Lethbridge Herald Local Journalism Initiative Reporter on May 1, 2024.

Distracted driving is responsible for 25.17 per cent of fatal collisions in Alberta, according to a Canadian financial comparison website.

A recent report conducted by HelloSafe took a closer look at numbers about distracted driving and the number of deaths related to it in Alberta has increased in one year by 65 per cent.

“If no significant measures are taken, the percentage of distracted drivers could potentially increase. This rise might be driven by the growing prevalence of mobile technology and other in-car distractions, said HelloSafe public relations director Alexandre Desoutter in a phone interview.

In Canada, distracted driving is the second leading cause of deaths after speeding, says HelloSafe.

“Ongoing education, stricter enforcement of driving laws, and technological solutions like automatic disabling of mobile devices in moving vehicles are critical to addressing this issue effectively,” said Desoutter.

The report showed that in 2021, 76 Albertans died as a result of distracted driving compared to 348 deaths across Canada.

Desoutter noted the study did not categorize distracted driving across various age groups. He highlighted some of the things which can distract drivers.

“It’s essential to highlight that distracted driving doesn’t only pertain to the use of electronic devices. Other factors such as eating, using navigation systems, or interacting with passengers also contribute to driver distraction.

“Understanding that these behaviors can significantly impair driving ability and increase the likelihood of accidents is crucial for the public. Our study suggests a multifaceted approach, combining technology, law enforcement, public policy, and education, as the most effective way to combat distracted driving,” he said.

The report pointed out the violations for distracted driving in Alberta are minor with Albertans facing a minimum fine of $287 which is the lowest penalty within Canada.

Desoutter said there are strategies which can prevent distracted driving.

“There are several effective strategies to prevent distracted driving. Firstly, setting up ‘do not disturb while driving’ features on mobile devices can reduce the temptation to check notifications.

“Secondly, educating drivers about the risks associated with distracted driving through targeted campaigns can heighten awareness and modify behaviour. Organizational policies and parental guidance can also play crucial roles in reinforcing the importance of focused driving.”

The full report with all the gathered statistics can be viewed at https://hellosafe.ca/en/car-insurance/alberta/distracted-driving-report.

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biff

oops, sorry, what is the article about?…i was texting



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