RSA distracted driving survey: What do you do behind the wheel?

Canadians report witnessing many distractions but admit to few, according to RSA Insurance survey

Toronto, ON (Mar. 5, 2014) – It turns out many of us are using the driver’s seat as a place to apply makeup, fix our hair, shave, scream at other drivers, and make out: are you one of them? According to a survey commissioned by RSA Insurance, 63% of Canadians report witnessing other drivers applying makeup and 57% saw others fixing their hair, while only 3% admitted to applying makeup and 7% to fixing their hair.

“As we approach the first long weekend of the summer, we’re encouraging people to pay attention to what they are doing behind the wheel,” says Alex Walker, Director of Claims Relations, RSA Insurance.

One of the most interesting findings in the survey is that drivers across the country, including in Ontario where there has been increased activity in combatting distracted driving recently, are not getting the message that talking, texting and driving don’t mix. Almost all Canadians reported seeing drivers talking or texting.

“That tells us that despite the recent emphasis on preventing distracted driving, including increased fines and demerit points, Ontario drivers still aren’t getting the message,” Walker continues. “These are extremely dangerous behaviours and drivers need to be more aware of their actions behind the wheel.”

The Leger survey also found:

  • 24% of Canadians report seeing other drivers make out, while 3% admit to it themselves;
  • 66% of Canadians have witnessed people driving with pets on their lap; less than 4% admit to doing it themselves;
  • 60% of Canadians have watched other drivers scream/swear at other drivers, pedestrians, cyclist, while only 23% admit to that behaviour;
  • 40% of Canadians report seeing other drivers screaming at passengers; 8% admit to doing that themselves;
  • 61% of Canadians have seen other drivers distracted with the radio or GPS, while nearly half admit to that themselves.

“We know that distracted drivers are three times more likely to be involved in an accident: no one wants to spend their long weekend in the hospital or worse. Pay attention to driving when you are behind the wheel,” says Walker.

Here are a few tips to help you avoid getting distracted:

  • Check your route before you leave – study the map and input information into your GPS before heading off;
  • Turn your phone off, or at the very least put it away. If you have to make or take an important call, pull over at a safe place first;
  • Check road reports, listen to weather forecasts, and follow the instructions of local authorities;
  • Avoid driving in the dark and, if you’re tired, pull over and rest or let another driver take a turn behind the wheel;
  • Prepare children for the drive;
  • Ensure that pets are secured;
  • Keep an emergency kit in the trunk: store items such as first-aid supplies, a flashlight, blanket, your mobile phone charger, batteries, matches, a candle, and a non-perishable snack and water.

Report exaggerated claims, staged auto collisions and other crimes related to insurance by calling IBC’s anonymous, toll-free TIPS Line at 1-877-IBC-TIPS (422-8477) or submit a tip at under Report Insurance Crime. IBC investigators take all tips seriously, no matter how large or small.


A survey of 1436 Canadian drivers was completed online between April 28 and May 1, 2014 using Leger’s online panel, LegerWeb. A probability sample of the same size would yield a margin of error of +/- 2.5%, 19 times out of 20.

About RSA

With a 300 year heritage, RSA is one of the world’s leading multinational quoted insurance groups. RSA has major operations in the UK, Scandinavia, Canada, Ireland, Asia and the Middle East, Latin America and Central and Eastern Europe and has the capability to write business in around 140 countries. Focusing on general insurance, RSA has around 23,000 employees and, in 2013, its net written premiums were �8.7 billion.

About RSA Canada

RSA Canada includes Roins Financial Services Limited, Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Company of Canada, Quebec Assurance Company, Johnson Inc., Western Assurance Company, Ascentus Insurance Ltd., Canadian Northern Shield Insurance Company, RSA Travel Insurance Inc./Assurance Voyage RSA inc., and is part of the RSA group of companies headed by RSA Insurance Group plc. RSA Canada employs approximately 4,000 people and is represented by a large network of brokers across the country. In 2013, the Canadian Group wrote $3bn in direct premiums with assets exceeding $8 billion. ©2014 Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Company of Canada. All rights reserved. RSA, RSA & Design, RSA Insurance, RSA Insurance & Design and related words and logos are trademarks and the property of RSA Insurance Group plc, licensed for use by Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Company of Canada. RSA is a trade name of Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Company of Canada.