Travelers Canada Announces Results of Distracted Driving Risk Survey (and it ain’t pretty)

Results show Canadians continue to drive distracted despite knowing the risks. 50 per cent year-over-year increase in drivers who reported having caused an accident due to distracted driving.

The Travelers Companies, a provider of property casualty insurance for auto, home and business today announced the results of the 2023 Travelers Canada Distracted Driving Risk Survey. The data revealed that Canadians engage in risky behaviours behind the wheel despite recognizing the associated risks, with nearly one-quarter of respondents acknowledge that multitasking while driving was dangerous but did so anyway.

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“The results of this year’s survey support what many of us see while we are on the road, more people are driving distracted,” said Paul Stone, Vice President of Personal Insurance, Sales, Distribution & Marketing, Travelers Canada. “This behaviour includes everything from texting to checking emails to driving while under emotional strain, all of which can lead to accidents. Safe roads are not just a matter of chance, but a collective responsibility, and acknowledging the prevalence of risky driving behaviours is the first step towards creating a safer driving culture.”

According to the survey, Canadians have seen an uptick in crashes due to distraction, with 30 per cent of drivers saying they have been involved in an accident due to their own distractions – a 50 per cent increase from 2022. In addition, 25 per cent of respondents reported a “near miss” because they were distracted, a 56 per cent jump from last year.

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The following are additional highlights from the 2023 Travelers Canada Distracted Driving Risk Survey highlighting how use of electronic devices while driving continues to be a major distraction, with common activities including:

Talking on a phone (hands-free) or using hands-free technology (63 per cent).

Looking at a map or following directions on an electronic device (56 per cent).

Holding a phone to make or receive calls (48 per cent).

Reading text messages or emails (21 per cent).

Dangerous driving behaviours also extend beyond technology devices, with more than half (58%) of respondents reporting frequently or occasionally eating or drinking while driving.

While not often discussed in correlation with driving, stress and emotional strain can have a major impact on decision-making, reaction time and situational awareness. Some of the major stressors reported included:

Watching the behaviours of other drivers, including distracted driving (78 per cent).

Traffic (62 per cent).

Finding a parking location (49 per cent).

Looking for and/or following directions (43 per cent).

Behaviours of passengers in the vehicle (34 per cent).

About one-in-six (16%) Canadian drivers said that they often cry or experience intense emotions while driving. Younger drivers (18-34) are most likely to report this (21%, vs. just 8% of those 55-69).

When asked what it would take for drivers to be less likely to use a device while driving, 90 per cent of respondents noted the top influence would be if a passenger asked them to stop.

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Workplace policies could also help reduce risk. Only 17% of employed Canadians reported their workplace has an official policy against sending or receiving work-related phone calls, texts or emails while driving. But nearly all of those who do have a policy in place (93%) reported that they always or usually follow it.

This survey was conducted March 14-17, 2023, among a nationally representative sample of n=1,006 Canadians ages 18-69, balanced and weighted on age, gender and region. All respondents were members of the online Angus Reid Forum. For comparison purposes only, a probability sample of this size would yield a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percentage points at a 95 per cent confidence level. The survey was offered in French and English.