News / Toronto

One-third of Canadian drivers admit to texting while being stopped at red lights: CAA poll

CAA study finds more Canadians continue to be guilty of distracted driving, although they admit it's unacceptable

In Toronto and across the country, drivers are still guilty of texting and driving

Torstar News Service file

In Toronto and across the country, drivers are still guilty of texting and driving

Neither stiffer fines, nor social shaming have stopped drivers from texting while behind the wheel.

In a new survey by the Canadian Automobile Association, one third of Canadian drivers admit to having texted while stopped at a red light in the last month.

Not surprisingly, 70 per cent of respondents agreed such behaviour is unacceptable.

“My suspicion is that there’s a lot more people doing it than they are admitting to it,” said Toronto lawyer and Bike Law Canada founder Patrick Brown.

“People are just obsessed with these devices,” Brown said, noting distracted driving has become as common – and as dangerous – as drunk driving. “We’re seeing cars on a sunny bright day, going into the opposite lane or slamming into the sidewalks and hitting someone.”

In Ontario, a distracted driving ticket can cost $490, but in some provinces the fine hits $600 and includes demerit points.

To help combat the problem, police officers in North York have taken to riding buses and bicycles in order to better spot the culprits.

Brown believes the province could borrow a page from New York City, where a “textalyzer” bill is being debated that would allow police to check if a driver was texting while driving.

“That’s the same way we attack drunk driving, and that’s how we should tackle distracted driving,” he said.

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