Dozens of driver behaviours can increase the risk of accident and injury, including speeding, swerving, driving after consumption of alcohol, driving aggressively, tailgating and more.
But of all of the dangerous behaviours that drivers engage in behind the wheel, distracted driving may be the worst of all. This type of careless driving behaviour leads to thousands of accidents in Canada every year.
Unfortunately, reports indicate that distracted driving accidents are on the rise across Canada, and more people are suffering injuries or dying as a result.
You can do your part by always limiting distractions while operating a car. If you have been involved in an accident caused by a distracted driver, you should know that you have the right to seek compensation for your injuries.
The Statistics: Distracting Driving in Canada Becomes More Deadly
New statistics regarding the prevalence of distracting driving in Canada reveal some unsettling news: Distracted driving has actually increased in recent months.
According to the BC government, 66 people died as a result of distracted driving in 2015. A further 630 people were injured.
In another article, CTV News reports that the number of deaths from distracted driving could end up being double the number of fatalities from impaired driving in 2016 for the first time since the laws regarding distracted driving were introduced in 2009.
As of June 1, 2016, a first time distracted driving ticket in BC will cost you $543, a second ticket within 12 months will total $888, and a third offense will cost a driver more than $3,000.
Why Is Distracted Driving on the Rise?
The fact that Canada has cracked down on distracted driving by penalizing drivers with steep fines when they are caught using a cell phone has worked to limit distracted driving up until now.
With that said, why is distracted driving on the rise now? What can be done to combat it further?
While the answer is far from clear, it is possible that the increase in the use of cell phones while driving might have something to do with the number of mobile applications and games that encourage driving while using the phone.
For example, Snapchat has a filter that allows users to record and share the speed at which they are traveling when a “snap,” or photo, is taken by the driver.
Another app that has been associated with cell phone use while driving is Pokemon Go. This mobile game involves users who travel around and try to catch Pokemon as it appears in real life.
The reality is that more people than ever before use their mobile devices to connect with one another and to share and receive information. The inability to put the phone down and focus on driving seems to be a sensation that is gripping drivers across the nation.
What Can Be Done to Combat the Problem of Distracted Driving?
As the problem of distracted driving continues to grow, and as fatalities increase, efforts to combat distracted driving become more pressing.
While the fear of being involved in an accident and suffering tragic injuries or causing catastrophic damage to another should seemingly be enough of a deterrent, it appears that drivers are more motivated by social connections than they are by safety.
“It takes just a moment to be distracted from the roadway, and it can potentially kill somebody,” Ontario Provincial Police Constable Rheal Levac told CTV News.
When it comes reducing the number of distracted drivers on the road, the answer is a combination of more education and more enforcement.
What Can You Do to Reduce Distracting Driving ?
We are all part of the solution. To achieve the reduction of accidents caused by distracted driving, here are a few things that you can do:
- Stop texting while driving. If you are a person who texts while driving, whether reading or composing text messages, you need to stop. Texting while driving is incredibly dangerous. It increases your risk for an accident. Further, you can be cited for texting and driving. If you cause an accident, you will be liable for damages.
- Put your cell phone away. Texting while driving is not the only dangerous behavior. All activities involving a cell phone, including using maps and GPS for navigation purposes, should be ceased. If you are tempted to use your cell phone while driving, turn it off or store it in a part of your vehicle that is out of reach. If you need directions, ask your passenger to navigate or turn on an audio function where directions can be spoken aloud to you without you having to look at your phone.
- Don’t forget about limiting other distractions. While cell phones are the primary distraction for drivers in 2016, they are not the only ones. Talking to passengers, listening to music, reading maps or signage, applying makeup, self grooming, eating and drinking can be distracting, too. They increase your risk of accident. Remember: When you are driving, the most important thing to pay attention to is the road ahead and surrounding that could impact your driving.
- Talk to your loved ones about distracted driving. If you notice that a friend or family member of yours is driving while distracted, do not be afraid to speak up. Another person’s use of a cell phone while driving is everyone’s business. Ask the individual to put their phone away and to focus on the road. Remind them that you care about their life, and safety should always be a top priority.
- Report dangerous drivers. If you notice that another driver is operating a car while distracted to the point that you believe others are endangered, make a mental note of the driver’s license plate number. Get to a safe location, pull over, turn off your vehicle and report the vehicle to the proper agency.
Contact a Car Accident Lawyer Today
Distracted driving can lead to tragic accidents. If you are involved in an accident caused by a distracted driver, please contact Klein Lawyers for a consultation about how you can file a claim and pursue compensation for your losses.