Distracted driving in Canada is about to become even more of a problem, a new study by insurance comparison site Hellosafe.ca has found.
According to Hellosafe.ca, distracted driving in Canada is estimated to cost about $102 million per year. In Canada, 1,762 people died on the roads in 2019 and distracted driving was estimated to be responsible for 21% of these fatalities, representing a total of 370 deaths across the country over that year.
In terms of which province or territory sees the most distracted driving-related fatalities, BC topped Hellosafe.ca’s list. In 2019, BC saw 78 fatalities related to distracted driving, representing 27% of all the annual road fatalities in the province. Alberta was the second-worst territory, with 24.9% of its road fatalities in 2019 related to distracted driving.
Although legislation exists in all provinces and territories that prohibits the use of mobile phones while driving, the severity of the fines varies wildly across the region. Ranking the lowest possible fines handed down to distracted drivers, New Brunswick ranked the lowest on the list, with the province’s lowest possible fine at $172.50 while Manitoba serves the heaviest fine at $672.
While Manitoba’s $672 fine is the highest of the minimum possible distracted driving fines in Canada, the highest possible fine is $3,000, in Ontario.
Hellosafe.ca has suggested in its report that distracted driving cases are only going to rise in Canada – the question is by how much. The website has posited that there are two possible scenarios: either an “optimistic” 2% annual increase by 2030 (representing a $20 million increase from 2021’s price for auto insurers), or a “pessimistic” 5% annual increase by 2030 (a $55.7 million increase).