The Road Safety Monitor (RSM) is a unique, annual public opinion survey that takes the pulse of the nation on key traffic safety issues and tracks changes in behaviours, attitudes, and, opinions of Canadians by means of a telephone and on-line survey of a random, representative sample of Canadian drivers. The increased accessibility and affordability of cell phones has focused attention on the issue of distracted driving in the past decade. Although Canadians most often identify cell phones with distracted driving, research shows that any time spent focused on non-driving related tasks while behind the wheel puts drivers and other road users at risk. In general, available research generally estimates that driver distraction is a factor in 20% – 30% of road crashes.
In recent years, most jurisdictions in Canada have implemented legislation banning the use of handheld devices and imposed escalating penalties for violations. However, some Canadians persist in engaging in non-driving activities behind the wheel. The 2011 poll revealed that, despite the increase in the number of Canadians admitting to using their cell phones while driving compared to the number in 2001, more drivers are admitting to using their phones for shorter periods of time. A majority of drivers (65.2%) who use their cell phone while driving said that they used it for 10 minutes or less in the past week. In 2001, only a little more than half (57.5%) of the 20.5% of those who used their cell phone while driving said they used their device for 10 minutes or less in the past week. Consistent with this increase, there has been a decrease in those using their cell phones for more than 30 minutes in the past week.
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Project Status: Ongoing
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