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Distracted driving in the collimator

by

Frédérique De Simone

24 September 2019 13:30

Photo : Freepik

Desjardins Insurance has decided to directly address the issue of distracted driving, a scourge which continues to grow in Canada, according to the insurer. In one year, the proportion of careless drivers, who admit that they have already been distracted by their cell phone at least once while they were behind the wheel, has increased by 15 %. In 2019, this proportion rose to 53 %, compared to 38 % last year.

In order to enhance its users, Desjardins Insurance will use its application Ajusto to keep track of the distractions caused by cell phones and will use these factors to determine the score of motorists. For the moment, the feature is new to Quebec, but will be deployed soon in Ontario.

A survey revealing

The majority of respondents to the national survey of Desjardins does not see the distraction as being the behavior most risky behind the wheel. However, 94% of all road accidents in Canada are attributed to driver errors and it is distracted driving that leads to the prom, then comes the speed and impaired driving, according to the white paper of Belron Canada, published in 2019.

Although the number of road accidents in the country have steadily declined for the past 40 years, especially because of the many tools that integrate with vehicles, used to reduce the errors of inattention of the drivers, the number of deaths on the roads has started to increase again and, again, driver distraction is involved.

The head in the sand

The Canadians seem to believe that the fault lies with the other drivers. According to the survey from Desjardins, 93 % of drivers believe that they are rarely or never distracted by their cell phone at the time of taking the road, but 84 % of them say that they see often or always other people use their phone while driving.

A little earlier this year, the insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) said he was surprised to learn that the people surveyed in a poll that he commissioned were aware of the consequences related to distracted driving, but took the risk anyway, and that they downplay, or even banalisaient, distractions at the wheel.

“Clearly, distracted driving continues to pose a serious risk to road safety. It is important to continue to raise public awareness of this serious issue to ensure that distracted driving becomes as socially unacceptable as drinking and driving, ” says Denis Dubois, president and chief operating officer of Desjardins general insurance Group.

According to a study by the Foundation for research on traffic injury (FRBR), driver distraction is involved in a fatal collision on four in Canada. Despite the higher fines, loss of demerit points and the redoubled efforts by the police to combat this problem, hundreds of people lose their lives on the road due to distracted driving.

“Of course, the fines are more severe, and the technologies are useful, but the fact remains that distracted driving can be avoided and that are the changes in behavior that can save lives,” added Mr. Dubois.

“The drivers are not the only people at risk : distracted driving has consequences fatal on the passengers, pedestrians, cyclists and other road users,” says Robyn Robertson, president and ceo of TIRF. All Canadians must pledge to be more attentive on the road and to intervene with their friends, their parents, and their colleagues to reinforce safe driving practices. “

Desjardins reveals that half of Canadians would be distracted by the external environment, 45 % are through the cell, the texting, the calls and e-mails, and 41 % by changing the settings of the console and the infotainment system of the vehicle.

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