A recent survey indicates that 40% of Canadians believe distracted driving is the number one threat of car-related deaths, surpassing impaired driving (33%) as the leading factor.

When asked if they have told a driver to stop texting or engaging in phone calls while behind the wheel, 58% say they have on at least one occasion.

Additionally, more than 50% of younger Canadians (aged 18 to 34) say they have told a driver, on more than three occasions, to stop using a mobile device while driving.

"The fact that Canadians are now acknowledging distracted driving as the number one threat to fatalities on the road is significant," said Paul Kovacs, Road Safety Ambassador, Rates.ca.

"Learning that passengers are now speaking out and taking action when observing distracted driving behaviour is an important new finding."

The survey also asked Canadians to rank the following distracted driving activities as the most likely contributors to a traffic collision:

  • Texting (58%)
  • Placing a call hands free (19%)
  • Eating (14%)
  • Drinking a coffee or water (8%)
  • Using GPS mapping (8%)

"Any action that takes attention away from driving your vehicle creates unsafe conditions," said Kovacs.

"Engaging in activities like texting, answering a phone call or drinking a coffee should only take place when the car is parked."

The survey also found that 67% of drivers believe there should be stiffer penalties for younger novice drivers for first and second offences.

As well, 95% of Canadians believe the dangers of distracted driving should be taught in school (47% in primary and 48% in high school).

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