New Brunswick latest to introduce distracted driving bill

TORONTO, Nov. 24 2010 – New Brunswick is the latest province to introduce legislation combating distracted driving. Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) commends the government for taking this important step.

New Brunswick’s proposed law against distracted driving would prohibit, while driving, the use of any electronic device with a display screen, communication device, or entertainment device that is not firmly attached to a vehicle’s dashboard.

Bill Adams, Vice-President, Atlantic, IBC, said: “Insurers welcome the new law and commend New Brunswick officials for taking a comprehensive approach to combating distracted driving. We hope that government’s public education plans on the issue are equally as comprehensive because it’s clear that this proposed legislation is not enough. It needs to be combined with strong consumer education to ensure that drivers understand and comply.”

He added: “Until a few years ago, there wasn’t a strong stigma against intoxicated driving. Today, it is universally condemned. As a society, we need to do the same thing with distracted driving. Through public education, we must make driving while distracted as unacceptable as driving while drunk.”

IBC has been at the forefront of the distracted driver issue, promoting awareness of the dangers of distracted driving through research, ad campaigns and community outreach. IBC’s 2010 Be Smart, Be Safe summer injury prevention tour, which in New Brunswick focused on the distracted driving issue, visited 23 communities in the province between June and August.

New Brunswick’s proposed distracted driving law means drivers would have to change their habits when it comes to using prohibited devices. “Dangerous distractions go beyond just electronic gadgets,” said Adams, “But since common sense cannot be legislated, we encourage drivers to think about all distractions and change their behavior accordingly.”

To help New Brunswick drivers understand the source of distractions while driving and how to avoid them, Canada’s home, car and business insurers have put together some helpful tips.

Tips for Avoiding Distractions While Driving
From Canada’s home, car and business insurers

  1. Eat before driving so you won’t be tempted to juggle distracting snacks behind the wheel.
  2. Pull over and park before using a cellphone or other hand-held electronic device.
  3. Have a “driving” playlist on your MP3 player and start it playing before you set the car in motion. That way, you won’t be fumbling to find a good song while driving.
  4. If something falls, leave it. Never reach for an object while driving, unless it is impeding with your ability to control the car; in which case, pull over and deal with it.
  5. Deal with predictable distractions before hitting the road. Check the map, adjust the seat, the climate control and the radio, and familiarize yourself with the dashboard controls, before taking the car out of park.
  6. If you are driving with pets, make sure they are safely secured and in the back seat.
  7. Put aside enough time to complete your grooming before you set out, so you won’t have to apply make-up, comb your hair or shave while driving.
  8. Listen to your GPS device; don’t look at it.
  9. Make all necessary wardrobe changes before you enter the car.
  10. If a situation can’t wait – the kids are acting up in the back seat, or you need to refer to a map or take an emergency call – pull over somewhere safe to deal with it.

About Insurance Bureau of Canada

Insurance Bureau of Canada is the national industry association representing Canada’s private home, car and business insurers. Its member companies represent 90% of the property and casualty (P&C) insurance market in Canada. The P&C insurance industry employs over 110,000 Canadians, pays more than $6 billion in taxes to the federal, provincial and municipal governments, and has a total premium base of $40 billion.