THUNDER BAY – Distracted driving fatalities have surpassed impaired driving fatalities in several jurisdictions across the country. In fact, most-recent data reveals that distracted driving collisions have generally increased across all age groups and contributes to one-quarter of all fatal collisions.
In an effort to stop people from distracted driving, the Community Traffic Awareness Committee (CTAC) is launching their “Just Drive – Your Friends will Understand” social media campaign from September 5 to October 5th. The campaign is designed to encourage new and experienced drivers to stay focused only on driving when behind the wheel, and to be aware that any activity that can divert a person’s attention. Talking on the phone, texting, eating, reading, changing music and reaching for items are all serious distractions that can cause fatalities.
According to Public Health Ontario, over 90% of Ontarians aged 16 to 24 are aware that Ontario law bans texting while driving yet 55% reported reading texts and 44% reported sending texts while driving.
“It is important to remember that distracted driving is 100% preventable. It’s is a matter of choice,” says Hazem Sabeh, committee chair and public health nurse at Thunder Bay District Health Unit. “If every driver in the Thunder Bay district does their part to avoid distractions while driving, collisions, and injuries can be prevented, health care costs can be reduced and lives can be saved.”
Simply holding a phone or other device while driving is against the law. Fines for distracted driving are going up to $1,000 as of January 1, 2019, and charges can result in a three-day day driver’s licence suspension.