Driving demands full attention, a fact that should make clear distracting behaviour such as talking on the phone, texting or taking selfies while behind the wheel are off-limits.

That is among the messages from RBC Insurance, which Tuesday released survey results showing 72% of respondents admit to some form of distracted driving, although almost nine in 10 have noticed the behaviour in other drivers.
RBC Insurance Poll: Perceptions of Distracted Driving Habits (CNW Group/RBC Insurance)
On behalf of RBC Insurance, Ipsos carried out the poll between April 29 and May 1. A sample of 1,005 adults (with a driver’s licence) from Ipsos’ Canadian online panel was interviewed online and weighting was then employed to balance demographics to ensure the sample reflects that of the adult population.

The divide between self-reported and publicly observed behaviours were sometimes found to be quite wide, notes a press release from RBC Insurance, one of the largest Canadian bank-owned group of insurance companies. The four greatest differences identified are as follows:

  • talking or texting on the phone – 17% of respondents self-reported this behaviour compared to 80% who have observed it;
  • doing hair, make-up, or changing clothes – 5% compared to 58%;
  • reading a book/newspaper – 3% compared to 36%; and
  • taking selfies – 3% compared to 28%.

RBC Insurance Poll: Perceptions of Distracted Driving Habits (CNW Group/RBC Insurance)
Alarming is the admission by 16% of respondents who say distracted driving has caused them to be in a collision or near collision (24% of younger drivers compared to 10% of older drivers). Asked to identify the distracting behaviour, 11% of the aforementioned group point to using a cellphone as the top culprit, 7% cite eating or drinking, and 5% note singing/dancing.

Also of concern is that 18% of those polled believe themselves to be great multi-taskers who can do something else while driving. In all, 29% of respondents agree it is okay to use their phones while stopped at a red light.

“Canadians need to be much more aware that driving takes your full attention,” says Natalie Dupuis, senior product manager, Auto for RBC Insurance.

“Distracted driving has emerged as one of the significant factors for accidents and fatal collisions on our roads,” Dupuis reports in the company statement. “Canadians need to put their cellphones away, leave their hair and make-up products at home and focus on the task at hand, which is to drive safely.”
RBC Insurance Poll: Perceptions of Distracted Driving Habits (CNW Group/RBC Insurance)
RBC Insurance offers a number of tips, including the following:

  • store loose gear, belongings and other distractions in the trunk or safely tucked behind the seat on the floor to prevent items from rolling around and causing a distraction;
  • make adjustments to the GPS, mirrors, climate controls and sound systems before getting under way;
  • put cellphones in glove compartments, trunks or some other area that is out of sight and out of mind to reduce the temptation of using the device; and
  • if there is activity that demands immediate attention, pull off the road and stop the vehicle in a safe place to attend to it.

Source: Canadian Underwriter