Canadian Underwriter

Most Canadians witness distracted driving, but few admit to it: Desjardins survey

September 13, 2018   by Staff

Print this page

Photo copyright: PopovA new survey from Desjardins reveals that 79% of Canadians regularly see other drivers using their smartphones behind the wheel, but only 38% admit to having driven distracted at least once.

An online survey conducted in March polled 3,020 people across Canada. Only 21% said they had used their phone while driving during the past year. Young drivers (aged 16-24) were the most likely to drive distracted; 11% admitted to using their phone behind the wheel on a regular basis, which is more than twice the national average of 5%.

“Canadians know that distracted driving is a risk factor on the road,” Denis Dubois, president and CEO of Desjardins General Insurance Group, said in a news release. “But we need to send the message that it’s an extremely dangerous behaviour that puts you, your passengers and every road user at risk.”

One third of the survey’s respondents said GPS apps were the primary reason they turned to their smartphones while driving. Forty-five percent of young drivers said they used their phones for GPS, while only 22% of drivers aged 55-74 did the same.

Respondents said the biggest deterrent to texting and driving was getting caught: 55% were concerned about fines and higher insurance rates. Only 37% said getting into a collision would make them more likely to stop driving distracted. Sixty-eight percent said the current laws are not enough to prevent people from using their phones behind the wheel.

Desjardins has partnered with the Traffic Injury Research Foundation and Parachute, a national charity dedicated to injury prevention, on a campaign to generate awareness of the dangers of distracted driving.

Canadian Insurance Top Broker is now on Facebook ( as well as LinkedIn ( and Twitter ( Follow us for easy access to the top P&C news you need to know.

This story was originally published by Canadian Insurance Top Broker.