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CAA poll says Canadians admit to texting stopped at red light

One third (33 per cent) of Canadians admit they have texted while stopped at a red light in the last month.

Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) said in a media release Wednesday that one third (33 per cent) of Canadians admit they have texted while stopped at a red light in the last month.

The media release said that is despite evidence showing the mind could still be distracted and not on the task of driving for up to 27 seconds after interacting with your phone – much longer than the time it takes to drive through an intersection.

“These numbers are troubling,” says Jeff Walker, vice-president of public affairs for CAA National in the release.

“The effect of texting at a red light lingers well after the light turns green, making it a dangerous driving habit.”

And while nearly 70 per cent of Canadians believe using their phone at a red light is unacceptable, this has not stopped people from doing it.

“It’s socially unacceptable to drive drunk, and that’s where we need to get with texting,” says Walker. “Attitudes are beginning to shift, but our actions need to follow.”

In BC tougher penalties for distracted driving went into effect June 1, 2016, costing first offenders a base fine of $368.

With insurance costs tied to four new penalty points, that adds up to $543.

The total for second offenses within the same year comes to $888, with an automatic license review for possible probation. Penalty points escalate from there.

BC’s government sought out public input on the province’s new distracted driving penalties (below). The outgoing fine is $167.

To learn more about common distractions and how to avoid them, view some surprising statistics on distracted driving, and play CAA’s latest mobile game – TXT U L8R, visit www.caa.ca/distracted-driving.

Findings are based on a CAA poll of 2,012 Canadians.  A probability sample of the same size would yield a margin of error of +/-2.2%, 19 times out of 20. Details on cognitive distraction can be found in the AAA Foundation’s recent study Measuring Cognitive Distraction in the Automobile III.