Distracted driving becoming more worrisome: CAA poll

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WATCH ABOVE: A majority of drivers think texting and driving is becoming a bigger problem, according to a recent CAA poll – Dec 29, 2017

A recent poll done by CAA showed 83 per cent of people in the Prairie provinces believe distracted driving is a bigger problem now than it was three years ago.

“Those drivers told us that one of the number one concerns that they have is texting and driving and that number one concern is tied with drunk driving,” said Christine Niemczyk, communications director for CAA Saskatchewan.

READ MORE: 636 distracted driving tickets issued in Saskatchewan during November

However, people continue to pull out their cell phones while behind the wheel.

“I think as drivers we’re still thinking we’re invincible, it’s only a few seconds, what can happen? We’ve done the research, we know what can happen in those three seconds when you’re not paying attention,” Niemczyk said.

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SGI said there were 636 distracted driving offences in November; of those 554 were related to cellphone use.

After years of enforcement, police say they’re at a loss for what more they can do.

“We need to move forward looking at initiatives, innovative ideas, while at the same time trying to balance enforcement with education,” Saskatoon Police Service spokesperson Alyson Edwards said.

“But honestly it’s frustrating, we’re not sure what else we can do.”

READ MORE: Distracted driving crash numbers on the rise in Saskatchewan: insurer

The poll also showed that drivers also believe other forms of distraction are becoming more of a problem, including drivers talking on cell phones and engaging with the in-car technologies, extended conversations with passengers, adjusting navigation systems, drinking and eating.

“Anything you can do to alleviate any of those risks or forms of distractions is certainly going to help you the driver continue driving in a much more positive and attentive manner,” Niemczyk said.

“I don’t know what it’s going to take to make more people understand that all of those things are incredibly dangerous,” Edwards stated.

“All it takes is a second without your full attention on your driving to create a tragedy but it seems that there hasn’t been that shift in thinking.”

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Distracted driving is the number one cause of collisions and injuries on Saskatchewan roads according to SGI, and carries a $280 fine.

WATCH BELOW: SGI distracted driving demonstration

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SGI distracted driving demonstration – Oct 4, 2017

Police say people can report distracted drivers by pulling over when it is safe to do to so and calling the non-emergency line.

The CAA poll was carried out in November and the findings are based on responses from 607 residents in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

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