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Distracted Drivers are Prevalent in Ontario

April 13, 2012

Ontario Drivers are Driven to Distraction

If you live in Ontario and believe the roads could be safer if only drivers were less distracted , a recent Kanetix poll suggests you may be right. The survey indicated that Ontario drivers are more likely than most other Canadians to take unnecessary risks on the road. Of course, Ontario isn't the only place in the country where people text while driving, experience road rage or speed. These problems are found in every single province; but for one reason or another, drivers were more likely to admit to them in Ontario. Learn more about these distracted driver statistics and what they mean below.

Ontario Drivers Know They Aren't Perfect

In the poll, respondents were asked whether or not they considered themselves to be "perfect drivers." Only 14.9 per cent of Ontario drivers responded affirmatively, which places them firmly at the bottom of the list. In contrast, 26.8 per cent of people in Quebec consider themselves to be perfect drivers, which is interesting when you consider the fact that nearly as many drivers in Quebec admit to having bad driving habits as their counterparts in Ontario. One bright spot in the poll, therefore, is that most Ontario drivers understand that they have room to improve. This means that there is real hope that Ontario can become a safer place to drive.

Texting while Driving

According to the poll, 11.4 percent of respondents admit to texting while driving. Among Ontario drivers, 11.2 percent acknowledge doing so. It's interesting that so many people still admit to doing this, when you consider that texting while driving has been banned in all Canadian provinces. In Ontario, drivers who are caught texting while driving face serious consequences. At the very least, it can result in a fine of $500. People whose texting while driving put other drivers at risk face fines of up to $1,000 and could end up with six demerit points. In extreme cases, texting while driving can result in jail time and suspended driving privileges.


Most drivers know that speeding is a risky activity, but that doesn't stop many from continuing to drive too fast. An incredible 36 per cent of Canadian drivers admit to speeding; broken down by province, Ontario drivers ranked first in the poll, with 42.4 per cent admitting to exceeding the speed limit. These statistics fly in the face of the fact that there are serious consequences involved in speeding in Ontario. The Ministry of Transportation has cracked down in recent years. If you exceed the speed limit by 50 kilometers per hour or more, you will be deducted six demerit points and receive an immediate license suspension.

Road Rage

Almost everyone runs across someone who has road rage at one point or another. Road rage is scary, and the poll reveals that plenty of people confess to experiencing it from time to time. According to the poll, 10.9 per cent of Canadian drivers admit to having road rage. Ontario drivers ranked second in the poll, with 12.1 percent of drivers admitting to having seen red while behind the wheel.

A different poll, conducted by Globe Drive, suggests that Ontario sees more road rage than any other province. This particular poll took an in-depth look at the issue of road rage. The provinces of Quebec and Alberta ranked second and third in the poll, which revealed some very interesting things about road rage in Canada. For example, people admitted to shouting profanities, making obscene gestures and honking their horns while angry on the road. People with high incomes were more likely to engage in road rage, and men were more likely to have the habit as well.

Eating and Drinking

Eating and drinking while driving aren't generally considered a distraction by many drivers. In July of last year, however, Ontario Provincial Police kicked off an aggressive distracted driving campaign. The campaign not only targeted texting and talking on cell phones while driving, but eating and drinking non-alcohol beverages were also included on the list. This came as a surprise to many drivers, who don't usually consider such habits to be very problematic. However, the OPP made it clear they would ticket drivers who were distracted from driving while consuming food or beverages.

In the Kanetix poll, a total of 38.8 per cent of Canadians admitted to eating or drinking while behind the wheel. In fact, it was the bad habit that the highest number of people admitted to having. A part of the reason could be that people just don't think of drinking or eating while driving a serious problem. Once again, Ontario drivers exceeded the national average, with 43.4 percent confessing to drinking or eating as they drove. Efforts to curb this type of behaviour make it clear that drivers should keep their hands on the wheel and their eyes on the road at all times no matter where they are in Canada.

The Bottom Line

Based on what has been revealed by the distracted driving statistics, it is clear that drivers across Canada, particularly in Ontario, still room for improvement when it comes to staying safe behind the wheel. The OPP have responded by waging campaigns in order to educate drivers and make the roads in Ontario safer. At any rate, it is important to remember that one wrong move is all it takes to be involved in an accident. Something as simple as glancing down to unwrap a cheeseburger is all it takes. Texting is an even bigger problem, and road rage can result in all kinds of terrible consequences. The best rule of thumb is to stay completely focused on the road at all times.

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