Nine in 10 drivers may be too distracted to drive safely: Allstate Canada Study

Could the latest in-car technology be relegating road safety to the back seat?

Montreal, QC (July 16, 2018) – The driving experience has changed drastically in recent years with advanced and increasingly futuristic in-car technology becoming the norm. While many of today’s options are designed to make driving a safer experience, others may be tempting drivers to distraction. According to a new Léger poll conducted on behalf of Allstate Insurance Company of Canada, 91 per cent of drivers surveyed engage in risky behaviour while driving, with precisely half of those (50 per cent) confessing to talking on the phone via a multimedia hands-free function. However, only a fifth (22 per cent) actually admit or recognize that they are distracted drivers.

Distractions due to new technologies are steering drivers’ attention off the road

Car companies are outdoing themselves revolutionizing vehicles with built-in, hands-free multimedia and infotainment systems. Autonomous vehicles and assisted driving functions are also making their way to the market, with more in store for the future. However, these technology-driven features may be providing more opportunities for distraction, as drivers could feel a heighted sense of safety and allow their focus to shift away from the road.

Many drivers admit to using driver-assisted technology while behind the wheel. Close to four-out-of-ten (38 per cent) say they use integrated functions to change the music or use the hands-free multimedia option (35 per cent) to text or read emails. Close to a quarter say they use their phones (25 per cent) to make or take a call, text or take a picture, or adjust the GPS (23 per cent) while driving.

Do Quebec drivers take their responsibility seriously enough?

Only one out of ten (9 per cent) drivers in Quebec say they never engage in risky behaviour behind the wheel. When asked if they consider themselves a distracted driver, close to eight-out-of-ten (78 per cent) say they are rarely or never distracted while driving and 20 per cent say they are only distracted at times.

Awareness is the first step in changing in-car behaviour for the better. “We can’t avoid new technology and the changes that come with it; and nor would we want to. Our cars are becoming safer,” says André Parra, Regional Claims Director at Allstate Insurance Company of Canada. “However, what we need to do is ensure it’s being used properly, as opposed to creating more distractions for drivers.”

Safety Tips

“A vehicle with extra bells and whistles is all the rage and you never know what the automobile industry will put out next. But driving a vehicle is a huge responsibility and sharing the road with a distracted driver could put the lives of many at risk,” says Denis Talbot, technology expert and spokesperson for the Allstate Canada Distracted Driving Study. To prevent distractions from negatively impacting our driving capabilities, here are Allstate Canada’s top safety tips for drivers.

  • Keep your phone on silent and out of reach – This may seem extreme but it’s one of the best ways to avoid the temptation to look at your phone while driving. The ring tone, beep or buzz sounds are hard for us to ignore.
  • Get directions before you leave – Trying to read a map or program a GPS while driving requires more attention than you can spare. If you need to change your destination while on route, pull over safely to update the directions.
  • Program your infotainment system – Lock in your favourite music track list, set up your GPS with your most common destinations, and integrate your cellular phone or other devices onto the vehicle’s systems to avoid juggling multiple devices while driving.
  • Focus – Summer driving can be fun, especially when travelling with friends and good music, but while you may be tempted to crank up the tunes, nibble on snacks, or take pictures along the way, remember these are all things that take your eyes, hands, and mind off the road. Your attention should be on driving, with both eyes focused on what’s happening in front of you and with your hands on the wheel. Schedule parking breaks for any other activity.
  • Put your passengers to work – Have them plug in information into the infotainment system so that you don’t take your focus off the road.

Infographic

2018 Distracted driving study (Allstate Insurance Company of Canada)

About the Léger Poll

The poll was conducted by Léger between May 25, 2018 and May 28, 2018 via omnibus online survey among a representative sample of 1,013 Quebecers, 18 years of age or older. Using Statistics Canada data, results are weighted based on gender, age, regions, language spoken at home, education and children present in the household to make the sample representative of the entire population under study. For comparison purposes, a probability sample of the same size would have a margin of error of ±3.08%, 19 times out of 20 (95 per cent confidence interval).

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 the Old Brewery Mission. To learn more about Allstate Canada, visit www.allstate.ca. For safety tips and advice, visit www.goodhandsadvice.ca.

SOURCE: Allstate Insurance Company of Canada

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