Distracted driving in Canada: Making progress, taking action

Robertson, R.D., Bowman, K., and Charles, J.M.
Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF)

This environmental scan of the distracted driving problem and solutions to address it in Canada, published by TIRF, begins with a high-level overview of recent research regarding distracted driving and crash risk. A combination of online survey and key informant interviews were used to undertake the scan. More than 40 persons in seven jurisdictions, representing several different sectors, participated in the survey in December 2014. In addition, seven persons in three jurisdictions participated in phone interviews to augment data collection and gather additional context about the issue in March 2015. Five key topics were included in the scan: provincial/territorial approaches to understand and address distracted driving, enforcement strategies and outcomes, data collection activities and measurement processes, education and awareness campaigns, and legislation. Results were synthesized to identify recurring themes and differences, as well as create a national picture of ‘practice’ and opportunities for coordination of activities to reduce the problem.

Results showed that targeted and intensive approaches that will motivate behaviour change among different populations of drivers are needed. In particular, it was suggested that there is a more persistent population of distracted drivers whose behaviour will not be changed by traditional penalties and who will require more targeted and intensive approaches to motivate behaviour change. The information within this report can provide guidance and inform discussion about potential distracted driving initiatives at all levels with an eye towards maximizing progress in reducing this road safety problem.

Robertson, R. D., Bowman, K., & Charles, J. M. (2015). Distracted Driving in Canada: Making Progress, Taking Action.