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When the rubber hits the road, what teen drivers don't know can hurt them

RBC Insurance Debunks Common Driving Myths for Teen Driving Safety Week

TORONTO, October 15, 2014 -  As any parent knows, raising teenagers is full of challenges especially once they start to drive. Not only are parents anxious, but teen drivers often have a sense of invincibility that can quickly see them fall prey to dangerous and often illegal driving behaviours. Whether it’s drinking or getting high behind the wheel, or driving while texting, many teenagers don’t realize how unsafe these behaviours are.

“Being a teenage driver isn’t easy. You’re developing a new skill, learning the rules of the road and susceptible to peer pressure, which means you may be more likely to fall victim to myths,” explains Natalie Dupuis, senior product manager, Auto, RBC Insurance. “The consequences of making a mistake on the road can have deadly consequences or cause life long injuries.”

Natalie adds: “And then there’s also the impact your mistakes can have on your auto insurance, with teens in an accident seeing substantial increases in insurance premiums upwards of 50 per cent.Getting the facts and knowing what types of mistakes you’re most likely to commit can help teens make the right driving decisions.”

While a number of these activities are already illegal, many dangerous driving misconceptions still persist. With Teen Driving Safety Week (October 19 to 25) around the corner, RBC Insurance debunks the top five most common driving misconceptions.

Myth: I can safely text or talk on my phone while driving or stopped at a red light. After all, it only takes a few seconds.
Fact: Cell phones are a significant distraction for drivers, and can increase the risk of collision considerably.Drivers text messaging are 23 times more likely to be involved in a crash or near crash event compared with non-distracted drivers1.

Myth: I’ve only had one drink so I’m fine to drive.
Fact: Any amount of alcohol impairs driving and increases the risk of collision.Even one drink can cloud your thinking, dim your vision and slow your reflexes. Alcohol also affects your attention span, alertness and coordination. A driver with a blood alcohol content of 0.10% is 50 times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than a driver with no blood alcohol2.

Myth: Driving under the influence of pot is not as bad as alcohol.
Fact: Your driving ability can be impaired by pot just as much as it’s impaired by alcohol, as it impacts your ability to concentrate and lowers your reaction time. In fact, drivers between 16 and 24 years old are equally split between drinking-driver fatalities (27.6%) and drug-positive driver fatalities (26.9%)3.

Myth: Eating/applying make-up/changing my music while driving isn’t a distraction.
Fact: It may be tempting to multitask, but teens should focus all of their attention on the road. Every time you take your eyes off the road, even for a few seconds, you put yourself and others in danger. A recent study shows that 80 per cent of all collisions occur when drivers look away for three seconds or less4.

Myth: Parents have little influence over their teens’ driving habits.
Fact: Parents are one of the greatest influences on their teens’ driving habits, behaviours and skills. One of the best ways you can help your children become better drivers is to practice safe driving behaviours yourself – wear your seatbelt, obey all traffic signs and focus on the road.

1 Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, 2010
2 Canada’s Public Health Leader
3 Beasly and Beirness, 2011 study
4 Canadian Global Road Safety research

About RBC Insurance RBC Insurance®, through its operating entities, provides a wide range of travel, life, health, home, auto, wealth and reinsurance products and solutions, as well as creditor and business insurance services to individual, business and group clients. RBC Insurance has more than four million clients globally. We are one of the largest Canadian bank-owned group of insurance companies, and among the fastest growing insurance organizations in the country. RBC Insurance employs more than 3,000 employees, and is the brand name for the insurance operating entities of Royal Bank of Canada.

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For more information, please contact:
Kiara Famularo, RBC Corporate Communications, 905-606-1481,
Greg Skinner, RBC Corporate Communications, c: 416 294 5579,