|LAURIER MACDONALD STUDENTS PARTICIPATE IN DISTRACTED DRIVING STUDY|
MONTREAL, OCTOBER 9, 2013— Some students from Laurier Macdonald High School in St. Léonard joined others from across the country on October 1, camping out at busy intersections to see if legislation to deter distracted driving is working.
Students in 10 Canadian cities observed 2,866 distracted drivers in a one hour period, suggesting that many drivers are not taking the dangers of this behaviour seriously. Added to the 1,091 distractions spotted by Allstate Canada Agents in six other cities, a total of 3,957 distracted drivers were logged in just one hour that morning.
Distracted driving laws prohibiting drivers from using electronic devices are in effect in all provinces and territories, with the exception of Nunavut. Alberta stands out as the only province where reading, writing, hygiene and other activities are written into the legislation — broadening it beyond the current ban on electronic devices. Yet the tallies showed that talking on the phone or texting still made up 18 per cent of the distractions noted. owever today’s student tally is a reminder that texting and the use of cell phones are not the only causes of driver distraction.
Laurier Macdonald Vice Principal Joe Schembri, Albert Varano and Carmine Venditti, both from Allstate briefed students and then sent them into action at the busy intersection of Jean Talon and Viau. A total of 385 infractions were noted. A presentation to 300 Secondary V students of Laurier Macdonald will be given by Mr. Varano, Mr. Venditti, and Officer Daniel Castonguay on Thursday, October 10 ( 9:30 am) in the school auditorium.
“Over the past three years, we’ve been working to show teens firsthand the kinds of distracted driving behaviours that are happening on our roads and to raise awareness about the dangers,” says Saskia Matheson, spokesperson for Allstate Canada.
Distracted driving consists of visual, manual or cognitive distractions (i.e. mind off of the road). The most common distractions are often eating, talking to other passengers or changing the radio station. According to a recent survey by Allstate Canada and Abacus data, 90 per cent of respondents admitted to driving with some kind of distraction behind the wheel, which increased from 75 per cent in a similar study done by Allstate in 2010.
“Our research indicates that almost all Canadian drivers (94 per cent) are aware of current distracted driving penalties, but only seven per cent say this would prevent them from driving distracted.” says Matheson.
Since Allstate Canada started holding the distracted driving tallies three years ago, the average number of distractions counted has increased each year. Students and Allstate Canada employees counted an average of 158 distractions per location in 2011, 201 distractions in 2012 and now an average of 247 distractions per location today.
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