The Canadian Automobile Association hopes the New Year will bring new driving habits.
A poll released Wednesday found 33 per cent of Canadians admit they have texted while stopped at a red light in the last month. The same poll found nearly 70 per cent of Canadians believe using their phone at a red light is unacceptable.
Texting while behind the wheel remains popular despite recent efforts to curb it through the loss of demerit points coupled with financial penalties for distracted driving.
“Texting at a red light is a dangerous habit and these numbers are troubling,” said Jeff Walker, vice-president of public affairs for CAA National. “The distraction effect of texting at a red light lingers well after the light turns green and a driver begins moving into the intersection where vehicle and pedestrian traffic are happening in all directions.”
The CAA says the poll results are particularly troubling after a recent study found your mind could still be distracted and not on the task of driving for up to 27 seconds after interacting with your phone, which lasts longer than the time it takes to drive through an intersection.
The gap in attention after a driver switches their focus from texting back to driving means as people drive through an intersection, they’re still not yet completely focused on the task of driving.
“It’s socially unacceptable to drive drunk, and that’s where we need to get with texting,” said Walker. “Attitudes are beginning to shift, but our actions need to follow and drivers waiting to text when they’re stopped at a red light still isn’t good enough to ensure everyone’s safety.”
The CAA polled 2,012 Canadians for its survey. The margin of error is plus or minus 2.2 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.