Release Date: March 11, 2019

Don’t be a distracted driver:

Things can happen fast. Taking your eyes off the road for one second can mean the difference between avoiding a collision or being involved in one. Consider this, travelling at 100 km per hour, you can travel 25 metres in 0.9 seconds, which means you can travel the length of a typical backyard swimming pool in less than one second!

Anything that takes your focus off the road is distracted driving. This includes using your phone to talk, text, check maps, choose a playlist, and other activities like eating, reading, putting on make-up, or typing an address into a GPS. Deaths linked to distracted driving behaviour are outpacing speed-related, drug or alcohol-related, and seatbelt related fatalities.

Statistics on distracted driving:

• In Ontario, deaths from collisions due to distracted driving have doubled since 2001.
• One person is injured in a distracted-driving collision every half hour.
• A driver using a phone is four times more likely to crash than a driver focusing on the road.
• Over 90% of Ontarians aged 16 to 24 know about Ontario’s law banning texting while driving. Yet 55% reported reading texts and 44% reported sending texts while driving.

Texting while driving is dangerous. Driving requires your full attention; if you’re texting, you’re taking your eyes and your mind off the road. One third of all drivers in the KFL&A area report using a cell phone while driving.

Tips to avoid texting and driving:

Texting while driving is illegal and can cost you $490 in fines and three demerit points. Careless or dangerous driving can cost you even more in fines, points, and jail time.

Here are some tips to help you avoid these fines and stay safe:

• Google how to auto-reply from your smart phone and program a message like "Can't reply, driving."
• Before you start driving, set GPS devices, radio pre-sets, music devices and climate control.
• Review maps and directions before leaving and safely pull over to adjust GPS devices or consult maps.
• If you use your phone to play music, use the Bluetooth function or a longer auxiliary cord and place your phone out of reach.
• Turn off notifications.
• Put the phone on silent.
• Put the phone in the back seat or glove box.
• Have a passenger text or call for you.
• If you have to make a call or send a text, pull over if it is safe.

As a passenger, you play an important role in helping the driver to stay focused on the road. The Ontario Provincial Police encourage all passengers to help save lives by showing zero tolerance to drivers who text, talk on their phones, or engage in other distractions that put their lives and the lives of others at risk. Be a role model for other passengers and kids. Speak up!