Are the new cell phone and electronic device restrictions in Vancouver and throughout BC really going to make us safer? Many studies indicate that drivers are just as distracted by electronic device usage while driving, even with a hands-free device.
With our new law, effective Jan 1, Vancouver and BC drivers have restrictions on the use of electronic devices while driving. An Angus Reid study from June 2008 found that 85% of drivers supported some level of a cell phone ban.
Hands-free is Not Actually Safer
A University of Calgary study from 2004 found no significant safety benefits to using a hands-free cell phone. They found that even though hand-free dialing may eliminate some of the distraction (as opposed to physically dialling), once you start a phone conversation, the distraction level is the same as using a hands-on phone while driving.
- Cell phone while driving can decrease your brain processing and reaction time by 50%
- Distractions associated with cell phone usage while driving is comparable to driving drunk
- When text messaging, drivers spend about 400% more time with their eyes off the road
- Distracted driving (including cell phone use) contributes to about 25% of all motor vehicle accidents MVAs are the #1 cause of injury-induced death in people under 25 years of age
Common Driving Distractions
- Cell phone and electronic device usage
- Manipulating vehicle controls
- Reaching for objects in the car
Activities not contributing to driver distraction include talking to a vehicle passenger, or listening to music or audio books.
Cell phone regulations are already in place throughout the world including parts of Australia, the United Kingdom, Finland, The Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Japan, Singapore, and several US States and Canadian Provinces.
(Stats from the Discussion Paper: “Addressing the Problem of Distracted Driving and its
Impacts to Road Safety” by the BC Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General)