Drivers in Canada are being reminded of the dangers of distractions behind the wheel as part of national road safety campaign.

The Canada Safety Council (CSC) has teamed up with the Insurance Brokers Association of Canada for National Safe Driving Week (December 1-7, 2020), with a focus on distracted driving.

Motorists are reminded that any activity which takes their focus off the road can be qualified as distraction, from using a mobile phone, reprogramming the radio and even eating and drinking behind the wheel.

“Distraction is distraction, no matter how you slice it,” said Gareth Jones, CSC President and CEO. “We all have a responsibility — to ourselves, to our loved ones and to our fellow road users — to remain vigilant at all times and stay focused on the task at hand.”

The Traffic Injury Research Foundation estimates that the annual cost to society of distracted driving is approximately $25 billion. This includes direct property damage, indirect costs and the loss of productivity due to the associated pain and suffering.

The CSC suggests up to 70 percent of all drivers eat behind the wheel but do not consider eating while driving as a form of distraction.

They offer the following distracted driving tips:

  • Leave yourself extra time and eat before you leave or wait until after you arrive at your destination.
  • Don’t keep food in your vehicle. It’s easy to avoid the temptation when it’s not within reach! Alternatively, leave your snacks in the back seat or the trunk, out of reach from the driver seat, and pull over if you feel like you need to eat.
  • Wait until you’re fully stopped before taking a sip from your non-alcoholic drink. Do not drink alcohol behind the wheel.
  • If you’re picking up fast food, resist the temptation to immediately dig in. Wait until you are stopped to eat.