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Many drivers still use their phones behind the wheel, despite steep penalties: survey

Last Updated Apr 11, 2019 at 5:51 am PDT

(iStock Photo)

A nationwide survey has found many drivers are still using their phones behind the wheel, despite steep fines

One-in-four Canadians have admitted to checking their messages while driving: survey

Three per cent of survey takers admit to watching a video while driving

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – We know the consequences are tough, but existing legislation may not be enough to keep drivers away from their phones in the car.

In B.C., a distracted driving ticket can cost you $368 for a first infraction, plus a one-time $210 insurance premium, as well as four penalty points.

Yet, a nationwide survey has found that more than one-in-four Canadians have checked their messages while driving.

Even more have admitted to doing it at a stoplight.

Despite this, the research from InsuranceHotline.com also showed that 75 per cent of respondents feel unsafe as a passenger when a driver is talking on the phone or texting.

What may be more surprising is three per cent of Canadians who took part in the survey even admitted to watching a video while driving. Really, a video.

“These are very alarming numbers,” Jacob Black from InsuranceHotline.com said in a release. “What people fail to realize is the number of accidents and fatalities that are caused by not having your complete attention on the road.”

And if you’re interested in knowing who’s more likely to check a message behind the wheel, the survey found men do more than women — 31 per cent compared to 22 per cent.

The national survey also notes we are fairly split when it comes to handsfree calling; just over half of us don’t think it’s safe.

“Distractions cause accidents—it’s that simple. You’re risking your life, the lives of your passengers and fellow road users when you allow yourself to be distracted as a driver. Canadians must realize that this behavior needs to stop,” Black added.

While a distracted driving ticket can cost you a hefty price, 60 per cent of drivers surveyed believe the penalties should be higher.