To limit the risk and harm associated with distracted driving, particularly distractions associated with hand-held devices, Ontario introduced a ban on the use of hand-held devices while driving in October 2009. To evaluate the effectiveness of this law and accompanying educational messaging, a study was conducted to gauge the prevalence, motives, and types of texting while driving behaviour among a sample of 2,000 Ontario residents between the ages of 16 to 24 who had driven an on-road motor vehicle in the past 12 months and had used a mobile device in the past 12 months.
Results indicated that the majority of participants (91.8%) were aware of the Ontario law banning texting while driving. Furthermore, participants stated they believed texting while driving was more distracting than talking on a hands-free phone. Although participants indicated they had low intentions to engage in texting while driving, 43.9% indicated they had sent a text while driving. Participants who indicated they had sent a text while driving stated they did so for one of the following reasons: making plans, perceived importance of the message, to get directions, to send or receive a message from friends/family or significant other, or to report to others or provide status updates (i.e., letting someone know they will be late).
Ontario Agency for Health Protection and Promotion (Public Health Ontario), Berenbaum E, Keller-Olaman S, Manson H. Texting while driving behaviour among Ontario youth and young adults. Toronto, ON: Queen’s Printer for Ontario; 2015.