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Driven to distraction: Perception of distracted driving habits varies among drivers

Yikes! 72% of CDNs admit to distracted driving and 9/10 have noticed other distracted drivers on the road says @RBCInsurance #DriveSafe

Summary: While many Canadian drivers admit to some form of distracted driving behaviour, they’re much more likely to point the finger at other drivers than admit to it themselves. And while 16 per cent of poll respondents revealed that distracted driving has caused them to be in a collision or near collision, 18 per cent still believe they’re a great multi-tasker and can do something else while driving.  

TORONTO, June 16, 2015 -  While most Canadian drivers admit to engaging in distracted driving behaviours, they’re much quicker to point the finger at other drivers. According to a recent RBC Insurance survey, 72 per cent of Canadians admit to some form of distracted driving behaviour, yet almost nine-in-10 have noticed the distracted driving of others.

Four of the greatest differences between self-reported and publically observed behaviours include:

  • Talking or texting on the phone (just 17 per cent of drivers say they’ve done this while 80 per cent of drivers say they’ve seen it)
  • Doing hair, makeup, or changing clothes (five per cent versus 58 per cent)
  • Reading a book/newspaper (three per cent versus 36 per cent)
  • Taking ‘selfies’ (three per cent versus 28 per cent)

“It’s always easier to put the blame on someone else, and distracted driving is no different. What we are seeing is that more drivers take notice of others’ distracted driving behaviours than what they admit to doing themselves,” says Natalie Dupuis, senior product manager, Auto, RBC Insurance. “Canadians need to be much more aware that driving takes your full attention.”

The poll also revealed that distracted driving has caused 16 per cent of respondents to be in a collision or near collision, including 24 per cent of younger drivers (compared to 10 per cent of older drivers). Of those respondents who were in a collision or near collision as a result of distracted driving, more than half (11 per cent) report the use of a cellphone as the top culprit, followed by eating or drinking (seven per cent) and singing/dancing (five per cent).

Despite acknowledging the risks, 29 per cent of drivers agree that it’s ok to use their phone while stopped at a red light; and 18 per cent believe they’re a great multi-tasker and can do something else while driving.

“Distracted driving has emerged as one of the significant factors for accidents and fatal collisions on our roads,” explains Dupuis. “Canadians need to put their cellphones away, leave their hair and makeup products at home and focus on the task at hand, which is to drive safely.”

Tips to avoid distractions

  • Store loose gear, belongings and other distractions in the trunk or safely tucked behind the seat on the floor. Items that are rolling around in your car may distract you from the road.
  • Make adjustments before you get underway. Address vehicle systems like your GPS, mirrors, climate controls and sound system before hitting the road.
  • To reduce the temptation to use your cellphone while driving, put it away in your glove compartment or trunk. Ensure you put it in a place where it’s out of sight and out of mind.
  • If another activity demands your attention, instead of trying to attempt it while driving, pull off the road and stop your vehicle in a safe place.
About the RBC Insurance Poll
These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between April 29 and May 1, 2015 on behalf of RBC Insurance. For this survey, a sample of 1,005 adults (with a driver’s license) from Ipsos’ Canadian online panel was interviewed online. Weighting was then employed to balance demographics to ensure that the sample’s composition reflects that of the adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within ±3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Canadian drivers been polled. The credibility interval will be wider among subsets of the population. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.

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, 905-816-5583