Cellphones are not the only distraction we have to be aware of while driving a vehicle, according to CAA’s Vice President of Marketing and Communications.
Gary Howard says it’s less about the specific distraction, and more about the dangers of taking your attention away from the road for any length of time.
“Distracted driving is caused mainly by a cognitive disconnect between the driver and what they’re supposed to be doing,” says Howard. “So therefore a hand held telephone is a distraction, but so is a hands free telephone.”
Howard says the specific device and usage isn’t as relevant as the fact your attention isn’t 100% on the road even when hands free.
“You’re still not paying attention to what you’re doing, it’s that cognitive disconnect between driving and using the phone that causes distracted driving, research has shown time and time and time again not paying attention to what you’re doing, hand held or hands free is a distraction,” reiterates Howard.
He says they know 80% of motor vehicle accidents could be prevented with one more second of reaction time so “if you’re using your phone, or texting, do so safely, at the end of the day, we recommend that people don’t use their phone while driving at any time.”
The National Safety Council reports 26% of all car crashes involved phone use, including hands free devices.
In addition, according to the Canadian Government, economic losses caused by traffic collision related health care costs and lost productivity are at least $10 billion annually.