By: Sarah Stinchcombe
Recent statistics suggest that drunk driving may have taken a back seat to distracted driving as the number one cause of motor vehicle fatalities.
Distracted driving has been in the news for some time now — whether it be a new ad campaign, promotions by different celebrities or new laws advocating a crack down.
According to the Canadian Automobile Association, driver distraction is a factor in about 3 million motor vehicle crashes in North America each year. In recent years, Ontario authorities have attributed an increasing amount of driving related injuries to distracted driving.
Christine Taleski, director of media for the London sector of Mother’s Against Drunk Driving, said anything that hinders someone’s ability to drive is cause for serious concern.
“Both drinking and driving, as well as distracted driving, are serious issues,” said Taleski. “These are both issues that need to be addressed by legislation because they are both killing a number of people each year.”
MADD focus not changing
Carolyn Swinson, director of media for Toronto’s M.A.D.D. chapter, said the organization wants to keep its focus on impaired driving, even with the increase in distracted driving accidents.
“We recognize distracted driving is a big deal,” said Swinson. “But we still have work to do with impaired driving. We are not ready to turn our focus just yet.”
Sarah Juarez, 19, is a G1 class driver driver about to get her G2 license, and said distracted driving is a big deal.
“As a new driver I think distracted driving is a huge deal,” said Juarez. “I think most drivers, they think it’s causal, like checking a text at a red light, but it’s so much more dangerous than that.”
All provinces and territories (aside from Nunavut) have some sort of legal plenty associated with distracted driving.
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