GUELPH, ON — A new report identified the need for a national action plan to combat distracted driving and recommends the creation of a national working group to combat the problem.
national plan to combat distracted drivingReleased by the Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF) and The Co-operators, Distracted Driving in Canada: Making Progress, Taking Action, is based on an environmental scan completed by TIRF in partnership with Drop It and Drive (D.I.A.D.) earlier in 2015. It examines five main areas of focus: provincial and territorial government approaches to understanding and addressing the issue; enforcement strategies and outcomes; data collection and measurement; education and awareness campaigns; and legislation.
Distracted driving is widely considered a top priority by provincial and territorial governments across the country. Yet, there is a gap in specific mechanisms to facilitate coordination across groups of stakeholders, and efficient exchange of information and outcomes at the national level.
“Because distracted driving is still an emerging issue, and one that falls under provincial jurisdiction, bringing together stakeholders to help develop a strategic plan at a national level will be very valuable work,” said Kathy Bardswick, president and CEO of The Co-operators. “The information in this report will serve as a resource for the National Working Group on Distracted Driving as well as decision-makers across the country who share our concern for road safety.”
The report revealed that a primary emphasis was placed on improving data collection, raising awareness, and educating Canadians about the issue of distracted driving. In addition, there was a high level of coordination of activities within individual jurisdictions. In spite of this, distracted driving persists. Overall, penalties were perceived to be inadequate and there is evidence that many jurisdictions are considering increased fines, demerit points or other sanctions to reduce this problem.
TIRF will be working closely with D.I.A.D. in early 2016 to form the National Working Group and engage its members in the development of a national action plan.