Is distracted driving the new “driving under the influence.” Some have dubbed it driving while intexticated. The police think it’s a significant problem.
OPP Deputy Commissioner Brad Blair is quoting stats that say distracted driving is the top cause of death on Ontario’s roadways. Blair said 78 people died last year from distracted driving accidents while only 57 deaths resulted from DUI, and 44 died in speed related crashes.
It’s not hard to understand really. The number of driving distractions is increasing. Cell phones are often cited as the cause of distracted driving, but the real cause may be driver boredom. Bored or not, the OPP will be looking to lay more charges.
Ontario’s new fine for distracted driving is jumping from $155 to $280.
In a Global news story, Blair is quoted as saying “Everyone, from the victims’ families and friends to the police officers who attend these horrific collision scenes and have to notify next-of-kin, knows the emotional impact of one life lost to this senseless driving behaviour.”
Some study is going into what extent drivers are distracted while they drive, and about which distractions are most likely to result in an accident. They studied “cognitive distraction” and discovered those activities took more mental effort than others. These are the ones they cited:
I can remember news reports of people getting pulled over by police for drinking a bowl soup while driving, applying makeup in the rear view mirror while moving, and even reading the newspaper while driving. Tourists reading maps while driving was a common one too. The GPS device has actually saved us some trouble in that regard.
If your teenage driver has a cellphone, there are methods available that will prevent them from texting or using the smartphone while driving. This one bit of software could save their lives and keep your insurance rates down.