The Road Safety Monitor 2010: Distracted Driving

Robertson, R.D.; Marcoux, K.D.; Vanlaar, W.G.M; Pontone, A.M.
Traffic Injury Research Foundation

This fact sheet summarized national results from The Road Safety Monitor (RSM), 2010 on distracted driving in Canada. The objective of this survey was to assess the frequency and length of cell phone use among Canadians while driving, and to determine where the issue of distracted driving sits on the public agenda in 2010. The RSM is an annual public opinion survey conducted by the Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF) under sponsorship from the Brewers Association of Canada and Transport Canada. It takes the pulse of the nation on key road safety issues by means of a telephone and on-line survey of a random, representative sample of Canadian drivers.

Results revealed that the majority of Canadians associated distracted driving with cell phones (72.2%) and believed (74.4%) that cell phones were the most dangerous distraction while driving. In addition, approximately three-quarters (75.4%) of Canadians reported that distracted drivers in general was a very or extremely serious problem. However, findings also indicated that Canadians did not fully appreciate the complete spectrum of behaviours that can be distracting behind the wheel. Canadians reported they frequently engaged in many activities that can be distracting while driving, and were using their cell phones more often in 2010 as compared to results from 2001 through to 2006. This increase was most notable among drivers that used their cell phone for less than 10 minutes a week and there was a decrease among those using their cell phones for over 30 minutes a week.

Overall, data showed that a majority of respondents (79.8%) believed new drivers should be restricted from using a cell phone while driving. This was in contrast to the 67% of respondents who thought cell phone use should be banned while driving. Further, the majority of respondents (70%) also believed that greater education and awareness about the issue of distracted driving was needed. Further, it was also shown that distracted driving trends may be on the rise when compared to data from 2001 to 2005. Despite this, the majority of Canadians supported a ban on cell phone use while driving.

Robertson, R.D.; Marcoux, K.D.; Vanlaar, W.G.M; Pontone, A.M. (2011). The Road Safety Monitor 2010: Distracted Driving, Traffic Injury Research Foundation: Ottawa, ON.