Skip to main content

Follow ISN on

The Best
Just Got Better.

New Name. Same Standards. Exceptional Results.
Learn more about how joining ISN has enhanced our services here.

Canadians often use phones behind the wheel when stuck in traffic, at red lights

Traffic delays and being stopped at a red light are common times Canadian drivers use their cell phones while behind the wheel, according to a new survey on distracted driving, conducted by Leger for Allstate Canada.

In the nationwide survey, 40% said they check their phones when stopped in traffic because of delays. While at a red light, 34% said they check their phone and 18% admitted to texting.

Younger drivers between 18 and 34 were also three times more likely to send a text at a red light than their older counterparts, according to the survey.

Allstate points to Transport Canada figures from 2011 which suggest that more than 40% of all collisions occur in or around intersections.

“This statistic really highlights how important it is for drivers to keep their focus on the road and the vehicles around them even while stopped at an intersection,” Ryan Michel, senior vice president and chief risk officer for Allstate Canada noted in a statement from the insurer.

“Drivers think that when they're stopped at a red light or in bumper to bumper traffic moving slowly, it's a safe time to check their phone or send a quick text.  You send your text, the light changes to green and you see the change with your peripheral vision. You react by automatically accelerating, unaware that the vehicle in front of you hasn't started to move yet.”

Receiving a call or text message from a spouse was the top reason given by survey participants who admitted to using their phone while driving. Among those with children, 46% admitted to checking their phones at a red light, compared with 29% without children who said the same.

In terms of consequences, only a third of drivers included in the survey said that a fine or ticket was enough for them to not use their phones while driving. Instead, injuring themselves or others would be the top consequence that would make them stop using their phone while driving.

Other highlights from the survey include:

  • 57% of drivers surveyed said they would be in favour of having technology installed in their car to prevent them from using their phone while their car was running
  • If caught, men are six times more likely than women to continue to use their phone while driving, after receiving a warning or fine from a police officer
  • Men are almost three times more likely than women to play a game on their phone while stopped at a red light.

    Canadian Underwriter