Is FOMO Driving Distraction Behind the Wheel?

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Allstate Canada Poll reveals 69 per cent of Canadian millennials think they are most distracted generation behind the wheel

Markham, ON (Mar. 6, 2018) – A new poll from Allstate Insurance Company of Canada reveals 80 per cent of Canadians believe drivers under the age of 34 are most likely to drive distracted. The study, conducted by Leger, also found that Canadians from that younger cohort recognize their own tendency to drive distracted, with 69 per cent conceding that their age group is probably the most likely to do so.

“When faced with tight schedules and temptation from smartphone notifications, drivers may find it hard to resist the urge to grab a quick bite while at the wheel or to sneak a peek at their devices,” says Ryan Michel, president and CEO of Allstate Insurance Company of Canada. “The data shows younger drivers are honest in recognizing the tendencies of their own peer group – but that self-awareness isn’t necessarily leading to changes in risky behaviour. This is why we’ve partnered with Young Drivers of Canada to help shed light on the need to instill and reinforce safe driving habits with all Canadians – even those who have yet to earn their license.”

Is age a key factor?

While many younger Canadians agree that people in their age group are most likely to be distracted at the wheel, they’re also less likely to believe their behaviours can cause them to lose focus. Eating (68 per cent under age 34 vs. 76 per cent nationally), drinking (58 per cent vs. 68 per cent), playing with the sound system (59 per cent vs. 68 per cent) and looking at roadside distractions (67 per cent vs. 77 per cent) are less likely seen as distracting behaviours compared to the national average.

What do Canadians perceive as distractions while driving?

Two actions nearly all Canadians agree cause distraction behind the wheel are using a mobile device and grooming (at 94 per cent and 93 per cent, respectively). Many Canadians also feel that looking at roadside distractions, such as collisions, signs or billboards, are more distracting than using a GPS/navigation system (77 per cent vs. 69 per cent).

Some activities Canadians perform when driving might seem commonplace but can cause them to lose focus. Seventy-six per cent of Canadians believe eating while driving is more distracting then drinking (68 per cent), while 73 per cent of Canadians believe that thinking about personal stressors like work or family issues take their minds off the task at-hand.

“It’s inevitable to face distractions when driving – and it may seem impossible not to give into these distractions,” says Michel. “Our aim is to make Canadians more aware of their behaviours and actions on the road. This is an important step to help keep our focus in the right place and our streets safe.”

Parents believe they are less distracted when on the road

The poll found that caregivers with children under the age of 18 were less likely to believe activities such as using a mobile device (92 per cent of parents vs. 96 per cent nationally), changing the music (62 per cent vs. 70 per cent) and eating (70 per cent vs. 78 per cent) are distractions when driving.

“Parents will always be a catalyst for how newly licensed drivers behave behind the wheel,” says Angelo DiCicco, director of operations for the Advanced Driving Centre for Young Drivers of Canada. “It’s important that we as adults lead by example and teach the next generation of drivers how to behave and focus when it’s their turn to be in the driver’s seat.”

Canadians’ perceptions differ nationally

The poll found some key differences of opinion between regions across the country. When compared to the rest of Canada, Ontarians were more likely to agree that talking on the phone using a Bluetooth is more distracting (77 per cent vs. 69 per cent), while conversely, two-thirds of New Brunswickers (66 per cent) feel that talking to passengers in the car is not distracting compared to the national average of 55 per cent.

In Nova Scotia, 89 per cent of residents ranked eating as a key distractor, which is significantly higher than the national average of 76 per cent. In Alberta, respondents highlighted personal stressors, such as work or family problems, as more distracting than eating while driving (79 per cent vs. 76 per cent). Albertans almost universally agreed that using a mobile device while driving was a distraction at 98 per cent, slightly higher than the rest of Canada.

Staying focused, even during busy times with family

“We all want new drivers to learn safe driving habits and practicing what we preach when we’re in the driver’s seat is crucial to instilling those lessons,” says Michel. “As we head into the March Break, a peak travel period, we encourage all drivers to be aware of their driving habits, to help keep our roads – and our families – safe and secure.”

To help avoid distractions while on the road, Allstate and Young Drivers of Canada have the following tips for Canadians: No Excuses – Distracted Driving Affects Us All.

About the Leger Study

A survey of 1,982 Canadians was completed online between February 5-8, 2018, using Leger’s online panel, LegerWeb. A probability sample of the same size would yield a margin of error of +/- 2.2%, 19 times out of 20.

About Allstate Insurance Company of Canada

Allstate Insurance Company of Canada is one of the country’s leading producers and distributors of home and auto insurance products, serving Canadians since 1953. The company strives to keep its customers in “Good Hands®” as well as its employees, and is proud to be named a Best Employer in Canada for the sixth consecutive year. Allstate Canada is committed to making a positive difference in the communities in which it operates and has partnered with organizations such as MADD Canada, United Way and Junior Achievement. To learn more about Allstate Canada, visit For safety tips and advice, visit

About Young Drivers of Canada

Young Drivers of Canada is Canada’s largest driver training organization. Established in 1970, the organization is home to over 140 classrooms and provides training programs for new drivers, fleet drivers and driver improvement. Young Drivers is committed to being Canada’s leading provider of driver training, teaching new drivers Collision free! techniques that will reduce the number of road deaths and injuries.

SOURCE: Allstate Insurance Company of Canada

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