Distracted driving causes more collisions than impaired and speeding drivers combined
Inattentive driving is linked to more collisions on Ontario Provincial Police (OPP)-patrolled roads so far this year than speeding and alcohol/drug-related collisions combined.
Since January 1, 2017, driver distraction has been reported as the primary cause in 6,360 road collisions. In contrast, speed was the primary cause in 4,700 crashes, while 1,158 of the incidents involved a driver who consumed alcohol or drugs.
Read more about distracted driving causing collisions
Drivers still aren’t getting the message that texting, talking kills.
Police in Ontario are pleading with drivers to focus on the road, as new statistics show distracted driving is causing more collisions than speeding and impaired driving combined. Ontario Provincial Police statistics show there have been 6,360 collisions on the roads they patrol since Jan. 1, compared with 4,700 collisions due to speeding and 1,158 crashes due to drug or alcohol-impaired driving.
OPP Sgt. Dave Rektor tells CTV News Channel that despite years of education about fines related to distracted driving.
At least 47 people have died from the distracted-driving crashes, which often involve people using their phones to talk or send text messages. That’s up from 39 over the same period of time in 2016.
OPP Sgt. Dave Rektor tells CTV News Channel that despite years of education about fines related to distracted driving, “drivers still feel this right to pick up the cellphone and talk on it while they’re driving, or even texting.”
He says officers are catching people frequently who are so distracted that they don’t even realize there is a fully-marked cruiser driving beside them, trying to pull them over.
It’s not just phones that are a concern, he says.
“We have everything from pets on laps, to people reading books, reading maps while they’re driving, putting on makeup, shaving,” he adds. “One time … I pulled over a driver for playing a trumpet while driving.”
It may sound funny, he says, but it’s no joke. “It’s those mistakes that are killing people on the highway.”
‘Hands-free’ deceptively dangerous
Sgt. Rektor says that although using hands-free phone systems while driving is not illegal, studies have shown hands-free conversations can also dangerously distract.
Researchers from the University of Sussex found that hands-free phone conversations create so much competition for the brain’s “visual processing capacity” that drivers take far longer to notice obstacles on the road.
The city has had to hire staff and set up a new system. How much will the administrative penalty system the city, both in terms of capital and operating expenses, versus the current system?
The city is committed to delivering public service in a way that is efficient and effective. The new parking violation dispute process will be staffed with existing city resources at this time. However, 25 hearing officers for the independent administrative penalty tribunal were appointed by city council earlier this year. There will be a period where the city will be running both a court-based system to process tickets issued before Monday alongside the new system which will process all parking violations issued from Monday onwards. Based on initial projections in the staff report to council, upon full implementation of the new system, there are estimated potential savings of approximately $2.8 million annually. The city currently spends approximately $65.7 million annually on parking enforcement and the processing of parking tickets. Upon full implementation, the new APS system is projected to reduce this to $62.9 million.
What is the expectation in terms of how many tickets will be written, and how much revenue earned from them by the city, once the new system is full in place?
As the offence types and fine levels won’t change, it is not expected that the volume of tickets issued will change significantly. There are a number of factors that may influence how many tickets are issued, including driver behaviour, enforcement activity, etc. Based on initial projections, upon full implementation in 2018, the new system is expected to increase gross revenues from $102.4 million to $108.7 million, reflecting an increase of $6.3 million. The penalty amounts associated with parking offence types remain unaffected in the new system. However, there are additional fees which the city will be able to impose for individuals who do not pay their parking violation notices on-time as well as for individuals who fail to attend a booked screening review appointment with a city screening officer or a hearing review with an administrative penalty tribunal hearing officer.