Road Safety Week focuses on distracted driving

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National Safe Driving Week runs from Dec. 1 to 7 and this year the Canada Safety Council and the Insurance Brokers Association of Canada (IBAC) are reminding motorists that driving is a task that demands complete attention from drivers. In short, even a second of extra reaction time can help avoid collisions and potential tragedies.

“Technology has made the task of driving easier in many ways,” said Canada Safety Council President and CEO Gareth Jones in a Nov. 29 media release. “Advances like rear-view cameras and collision avoidance systems serve as support mechanisms to keep us protected. But when technology pulls our attention away from the road, we are taking on risk and need to carefully consider how and when technology is used.”

The two organizations offer Transport Canada info that estimates cell phone and other device use while driving accounts for 21 per cent of fatal collisions and 27 per cent of serious injury collisions. American data indicates those distracted by their phones are four times more likely to be involved in a crash than those who do not use their phones while driving.

“You can’t watch the road and check your smartphone at the same time. Even a quick glance can lead to a costly collision,” said IBAC Chief CEO Peter Braid. “The stakes are high – death, injury, property damage, fines and rising insurance premiums. That’s why insurance brokers are partnering with the Canada Safety Council to raise the alarm: it’s not safe to multi-task when driving.”

Their message “Focus on the Road: Not a Part-Time Responsibility” reminds drivers that texting and driving are never worth it and that few text messages are so important that they need to be read immediately.

Without paying full attention to the road, the two organizations offer that drivers have less visual scanning of surroundings, reduced opportunities to identify visual cues, including signage, less time to react to surroundings, and a reduction in critical brain resources needed to assess the road ahead.

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