According to the CAA, distraction is a factor in approximately 4 million motor vehicle crashes every year in North America.
It's time, Canadians, to band together and show your national pride the best way you can – by tattling on all the jerks on the road who are driving distracted.
May 16 - 22 is National Road Safety Week in Canada, and this year, the Canada Safety Council and State Farm Canada are urging motorists to keep a particularly close eye on distracted drivers. If you do spy one on the road, you can send a message on Twitter to @CanadaSafetyCSC with the hashtag #CanYouSeeThem. Spoiler alert: we bet you see a lot of distracted drivers on any given day.
We know what you may be thinking: what good will it do to send a tweet? Well, we all know how difficult it is for law enforcement to identify and charge every distracted driver on the road. At least by posting to social media, you'll be raising awareness. At the same time, you may be more aware of your own surroundings, which is never a bad thing when behind the wheel.
As for what constitutes a distracted driver, it's probably pretty obvious once you see one, but the CSC defines them as "any driver whose sole focus is not on the road." That includes people eating behind the wheel, applying makeup, checking their phone, or reading. True story: we've seen drivers reading full novels on highways, and once even saw a driver eating a bowl of cereal.
And now for some statistics: according to the Canadian Automobile Association, distraction is a factor in approximately 4 million motor vehicle crashes every year in North America. If you didn't at least slightly raise an eyebrow after reading that stat, we don't know what's wrong with you. That's a really scary number, especially considering how many people admit to having driven while distracted.
As for Canada-specific stats, the Traffic Injury Research Foundation says the two age groups most likely to be distracted in fatal crashes are 20-34 year olds, and those at least 65 years old. Don't think you're off the hook if you're aged 35-64, though. Unfortunately, distracted driving is prevalent in every age group.
We know you may not care about numbers, though – you just want people to put down the food or phone while they're controlling a mass of metal that weighs two tons. It may not seem like much, but tweeting your disgust (when you're safely off the road, of course) could shame other drivers into focusing on the task at hand.
Stay safe out there during National Road Safety Week, and every other week after that.
Photo: General Motors
Source: Canada Safety Council