How Canadians are dealing with distracted driving

Distracted driving-related car crashes are on the rise in Canada, caused by drivers who are eating, tuning the radio, putting an address into a GPS device, talking on a handheld cell phone, and, especially, texting. Now officials in that country are exploring ways to get drivers to put down their devices.

A November 9, 2019 article in the Globe and Mail highlighted various efforts in Canada to curb distracted driving, such as issuing warnings or tickets, banning the use of handheld phones, suspending licenses, and mounting education campaigns about the dangers of using a cell phone while driving. But experts quoted in the article said that additional measures are likely necessary, such as safer roads, collision warning systems in cars, and more public transportation options.

Jay Winsten, associate dean for health communication and Frank Stanton Director of the Center for Health Communication at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health—who is developing a campaign to prevent distracted driving-related injuries and fatalities—told the Globe and Mail that he thinks it will take both technological innovation and a change in attitudes about distracted driving to successfully address the problem.

The article detailed Winsten’s efforts to curb drunk driving in the 1980s with the “designated driver” campaign, which helped change social norms around driving while drunk and contributed to a sharp decline in alcohol-related traffic deaths and injuries.

Read the Globe and Mail article: Distracted driving is as dangerous today as impaired driving was decades ago. What are Canadians doing about it?

Learn more

Reeling in rising distracted driving deaths (Harvard Gazette)