Distracted Driving Second Highest Cause of Accidents in Canada
Summer is almost here, and that means the dangers on the road are heating up like the weather. One national issue is distracted driving, now the number two cause of vehicular accidents after speeding. Combine that with the months of June, July and August being the highest for injury-related accidents — Quebec drivers will need to pay extra attention to stay safe on the road this summer.
Motorsports star Patrick Carpentier, a Montreal native who has competed at the highest levels of racing in CART, Indy Car and NASCAR has joined forces with CARSTAR and BASF to help motorists improve their safety on the road this summer and reduce the dangers of distracted driving.
“I’ve spent most of my life in a race car, and know how critical it is to keep your focus on the road,” said Carpentier. “Your car covers 45 feet in one second at 50 km/h – that’s one quick look at your cell phone. Even the slightest glance away – particularly in traffic or at high speeds – can put you and other drivers in danger. As a dad who spends a lot of time in a passenger car today, I know how easy it can be to get distracted by a call or text, your vehicle technology, or even another passenger. Together with CARSTAR and BASF, we want to help Quebec drivers understand the dangers of distracted driving and teach them tips to be safer on the road.”
“At CARSTAR, we’ve seen the impact of distracted driving in the vehicles repair,” said Yves Robichaud, Quebec Zone Director, CARSTAR. “We want to do everything we can to help drivers be safer on the roads. We’re committed to educating drivers about the dangers of distractions in the car and how they can reduce them. We’re honored to team up with Patrick Carpentier and BASF to bring this education program to Quebec.”
Distracted Driving on the Rise in Quebec
• From 2012 to 2016, 32.9 per cent of fatal crashes and 41.7 per cent of collisions leading to serious injuries in Quebec, were linked to distracted driving, according to the SAAQ.
• Speeding is still the number one killer on Quebec’s roads, responsible for one in three fatal collisions in Quebec in 2017, although the report shows a 13 per cent decrease in deaths caused by speeding, from 89 deaths in 2016 to 76 last year.
• Distracted driving has bumped out driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol as the second-most common cause of fatal collisions on Quebec highways, according to end-of-year figures released by la Sûreté du Québec.
• One startling statistic in the 2017 fatalities report: after four years on the decline, the number of people between the ages of 16 and 24 who died in road collisions jumped 46 per cent, from 39 victims in 2016 to 57 last year. Fifteen of those victims were passengers.
• Driver distraction, including cell phone use, was implicated in 9.8 per cent of fatal collisions in 2017, exceeding for the first time driving while impaired, at 9 per cent.
• Nearly 3 out of 4 Canadian drivers admit to driving distracted.
• A driver is 23 times more likely to crash if they text while driving and four times more likely if they are talking in a hand-held device
• Talking on a cellphone while driving makes a driver just as impaired as someone with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08.1
• A study showed that nearly 80% of collisions and 65% of near-collisions involved some form of driver inattention up to three seconds prior to the event
• Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among 16 to 25 year olds, and alcohol and/or drugs are a factor in 55% of those crashes.
• Summer months are the highest months for injury-related accidents – June, July and August – even though 30 percent of all accidents happen during the winter months, according to a traffic study by the Montreal Gazette. As people are driving more during warm weather, taking longer trips at highway speeds, traveling with the entire family and a packed heavy vehicle, and driving faster without the resistance of snow and ice, the dangers on the road increase.
Proper Planning Helps Reduce Distractions on the Road
Carpentier said that his key to staying safe on the road and reducing distractions is all about the planning.
“When I’m travelling with my family, I plan my trip just like I would a race strategy,” he said. “Is my car in top shape? Do I have everything I need like sunglasses, GPS, a beverage and music all set before I leave my driveway? Have I mapped out my journey – where will I stop for fuel or breaks, what is the best route and timing to avoid traffic? This pre-planning can avoid a lot of headaches and distractions on the road.”
Carpentier offered the following tips:
• Deal with distractions such as eating, putting on make-up, reading, combing your hair and checking messages before you hit the road.
• Be well rested before getting behind the wheel. If you are out late and too tired to drive home, sleep over or call a taxi.
• Ensure you have clear directions to your destination and check them before you leave. Listen to your GPS device; don’t look at it.
• Adjust the seat, headrest, seatbelt, rear-view mirror, climate control, radio, etc. to your liking before you drive – and if you’re driving a rental car, make sure you’re familiar with all the controls in advance.
• Manage dashboard controls and music preferences ahead of time and only adjust them when the car is stopped.
• Pull over somewhere safe if you need to make a call, check a message, deal with passengers, eat or drink.
• Tell everyone that for safety reasons, you no longer answer calls or respond to messages while driving.
• Ask passengers to keep chatter to a minimum and help you navigate.
• For young drivers, remind friends that safety comes first – no selfies in the car, seatbelts always in use and no distracting the driver.
• Don’t answer your phone or check messages while driving. Better yet, turn these devices off when you get into your car or put them in the console
• Never text and drive! Texting takes your eyes and mind off the road and your hands off the wheel.
Know How to Handle Your Car to Avoid an Accident
“While you might be a responsible driver, not everyone else is and sometimes things happen on the road that you need to react quickly to avoid an accident or reduce damage,” said Carpentier. “A distracted driver can swerve in your lane, not stop in slowing traffic, accelerate too quickly or make a turn without proper signaling. All of these can put danger in your path.”
Carpentier advised that staying alert, following speed limits, allowing proper distance between other vehicles and paying attention to the drivers around you is the best way to avoid accidents.
“Always look for an emergency plan if something happens,” he noted. “Is there an emergency lane or grass area to pull off to? If there’s an erratic driver in traffic, slow down and distance yourself from them. Make sure you are allowing plenty of time to stop at a light or in traffic so the driver behind you has adequate time, too.”
Carpentier suggested that drivers take a driving course that teaches how to handle sudden stops, hydroplaning, blown tires, snow driving and other on-road issues. Not only will this make them more prepared in case of an accident, it can also save on insurance for younger drivers.
If an accident does occur, CARSTAR and BASF are ready to get the vehicle back on the road quickly with the highest-quality collision repair and excellent customer service. With more than 60 locations across Quebec and nearly 600 in North America, CARSTAR is the continent’s leading collision repair network. BASF serves as the leading paint partner with CARSTAR in Quebec, and provides automotive finishes that return the vehicle to its pre-accident condition.
“I grew up in Montreal, and CARSTAR has always been the trusted local partner for taking care of the collision repair needs of the community,” said Carpentier. “Not only are they dedicated to providing the highest quality repairs, they are also committed to serving the community with driving education and safety programs, and giving back to those in need, primarily through their partnership with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. I’m proud to work with CARSTAR and BASF on this important education program.”
About BASF Automotive Refinish
BASF’s Automotive Refinish business manufactures and markets coatings for the collision repair, commercial fleet and automotive specialty markets. Its paint products are supported by technical training programs, advanced color information systems, business management and planning tools. For more information visit http://www.basfrefinish.com
BASF Corporation, headquartered in Florham Park, New Jersey, is the North American affiliate of BASF SE, Ludwigshafen, Germany. BASF has more than 18,200 employees in North America, and had sales of $17.9 billion in 2017. For more information about BASF’s North American operations, visit www.basf.com.
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