Most Canadians admit to distracted driving: poll

WATCH: A new survey has found that 70% of drivers admit to distracted driving. As Tony Tighe reports, some don’t even know what the law covers or how it can affect insurance coverage.

CALGARY-  A majority of Canadian drivers – seven in 10 –  admit to driving distracted, according to a new poll by RBC Insurance.

And even more – almost nine in 10 – have noticed the distracted driving of others, suggesting Canadians are quick to point the finger at others.

The most common distracted driving behaviours admitted/witnessed include:

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  • Talking or texting (17 per cent of drivers say they talk or text while 80 per cent say they’ve seen it)
  • Doing hair, makeup or changing clothes (five per cent versus 58 per cent say they’ve witnessed it)
  • Reading (three per cent admit reading but 36 per cent have seen it)
  • Taking “selfies” (three per cent versus 28 per cent)

“It’s always easier to put the blame on someone else, and distracted driving is no different. What we are seeing is that more drivers take notice of others’ distracted driving behaviours than what they admit to doing themselves,” said Natalie Dupuis, senior product manager, Auto, RBC Insurance.

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The poll also found that distracted driving has caused 16 per cent of respondents to be in a collision or near collision – including 24 per cent of younger drivers.

Despite admitting the risks, 29 per cent of drivers believe it’s okay to use their phone while stopped at a red light, and 18 per cent believe they’re great multi-taskers and can do other tasks while driving.

“Distracted driving has emerged as one of the significant factors for accidents and fatal collisions on our roads,” explains Dupuis. “Canadians need to put their cellphones away, leave their hair and makeup products at home and focus on the task at hand, which is to drive safely.”

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