From holding their mobile device to making a video call to grooming, drivers continue to engage in distracting behaviours behind the wheel, according to of CAA South Central Ontario.
The group surveyed drivers and 44 per cent admitted to being distracted when operating their vehicle — four per cent more than last year.
CAA SCO noted that the most concerning distractions drivers noted include holding a mobile device, grooming, making a video call, typing in a destination and watching TV.
Eating and drinking while driving is also a growing concern, the group noted. It further raised concerns around in-vehicle features such as connected apps and console screens as another source of distraction for drivers, especially if handled while on the road.
“Anything that can divert a driver’s eyes and mind off the road will always pose a threat while driving,” said Teresa Di Felice, assistant vice president for CAA SCO.
Despite the number of drivers who admit to being distracted ones, only 3 per cent said they’ve been charged with distracted driving.
“While a vast majority of drivers recognize fines and penalties, including increased insurance rates, as the most effective ways to reduce distracted driving, our data shows that drivers have become less supportive of penalties that currently exist for distracted driving convictions,” says Di Felice.
Of those surveyed, 57 per cent said they support bigger fines and stricter penalties for distracted driving convictions.
More than three in five (63 per cent) drivers in Ontario have witnessed close-call collisions or traffic violations caused by distracted drivers. Meanwhile, 12 per cent of drivers reported being involved in a collision due to distracted driving, mainly because of using a mobile device.