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Deadly Distracted Driving on the Rise in Canada

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Distracted Driving
Photo: Hershel Venkat Talluri

Distracted driving has turned into a costly — and dangerous — problem on Canada’s roads.

Ontario’s government notes that, since 2000, distraction-related fatal crashes have doubled in the province. So far in 2019, more people (44) have died from distracted driving than from impaired driving (34).

To combat the problem, police have been increasingly on the lookout for distracted drivers. Ontario Provincial Police handed out 13,500 tickets for the violation in 2018.

In Ontario, getting caught looking at your phone or other distractions isn’t cheap, folding in a $615 fine, a three-day license suspension, and a $280 license reinstatement fee. In 2020, these penalties will get even stricter. A distracted driving conviction is also likely to trigger dramatically higher insurance premiums and, in some cases, denial of future coverage.

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The increase in distracted driving crashes is also raising costs for more than just victims and people who are pulled over. Canadian auto insurers have been raising their rates in response to the higher number of claims. They’ve also been working hard to fund research on the problem and sponsor driver education to combat the problem.

Unfortunately, Canadian drivers don’t seem to grasp their role in the distracted driving epidemic. Desjardins Insurance recently released a survey in which 93 percent of respondents denied frequently using their smartphones while driving. However, 84 percent of survey respondents said they frequently see other people driving distracted.

Ultimately, insurance executives and government officials agree: Canadian drivers need to put their phones out of sight when behind the wheel. Even a few seconds of distraction can be fatal, and it’s just not worth the risk.

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News Source: CBC