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Distracted Driving

While distracted driving is commonly attributed to electronic device use, whenever a driver participates in a non-driving activity, it has the potential to distract them from the primary task of driving. Any task that takes your eyes and mind off the road is considered to be a distraction. It only takes a second to be distracted and it can pose a serious threat to your safety as well as those around you – inside or outside your vehicle.

A BCAA distracted driving survey of British Columbians with a valid drivers license who drive regularly found that 93% of BC drivers consider themselves to be focused drivers, yet they are also engaging in the following actions which can take their attention off the road:

Top Distracted Driving Behaviours

Interacting with Passengers

Interacting with passengers

Adjusting Climate Control Icon

Adjusting climate control

 
Scanning Street Signs Icon

Scanning street signs & numbers


Eating or drinking

 
Phone Fiddling Icon

Phone fiddling

Checking out the Scenery Icon

Checking out the scenery

 

How Distractions Affect Cognitive Function

Visual Icon

Visual distractions take eyes off the road – at 100km/hr, drivers travel 52 metres or the length of a hockey rink blind in 2 seconds.

Manual Icon 

Manual distractions take hands off the wheel – drivers often steer in the direction their hand is reaching.

Cognitive icon

Cognitive distractions take our mind off the road – drivers fail to recognize hazards because our field of vision shrinks.

Auditory Icon

Auditory distractions interfere with hearing external cues – audible notifications take attention off the driving task.

 

The Risks

Drivers engaged in the following distractions are more likely to be in a crash or near collision event compared with non-distracted drivers. Taking your eyes off the road for even 2 seconds doubles the risk of an accident.

texting icon
Texting
Up to 23x as likely
(Traffic Injury Research Foundation)
Using Phone Icon
Using the Phone
Up to 4x as likely
(ICBC)
Hand Reaching for an Object Icon
Reaching for an Object
8x more likely
(NHTSA)
Programming Navigation Icon
Programming Navigation
Takes on average 40 seconds to complete and another 13 seconds for the brain to refocus afterwards
(AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety)
Eating or Drinking Icon
Eating or Drinking
Increases the chance of getting into an accident by 80%
(NHTSA)

*These are the findings of a survey conducted by BCAA from February 23-26, 2021 with a representative sample of 800 online Canadians who are members of the Angus Reid Forum.