Road Today - - Road Safety -

One third (33 per cent) of Cana­di­ans ad­mit they have texted while stopped at a red light in the last month, says a poll re­leased by the Cana­dian Au­to­mo­bile As­so­ci­a­tion (CAA). For Bri­tish Columbians, 26 per cent come clean and say they’ve texted at a red light.

That is de­spite ev­i­dence that your mind could still be dis­tracted and not on the task of driv­ing for up to 27 sec­onds af­ter in­ter­act­ing with your phone – which lasts longer than the time it takes to drive through an in­ter­sec­tion. The gap in at­ten­tion af­ter a driver switches their fo­cus from tex­ting back to driv­ing means as peo­ple drive through an in­ter­sec­tion, they’re still not yet com­pletely fo­cused on the task of driv­ing.

“Tex­ting at a red light is a dan­ger­ous habit and th­ese num­bers are trou­bling,” says Jeff Walker, vice-pres­i­dent of pub­lic af­fairs for CAA Na­tional. “The dis­trac­tion ef­fect of tex­ting at a red light lingers well af­ter the light turns green and a driver be­gins mov­ing into the in­ter­sec­tion where ve­hi­cle and pedes­trian traf­fic are hap­pen­ing in all di­rec­tions.”

And while nearly 70 per cent of Cana­di­ans be­lieve us­ing their phone at a red light is un­ac­cept­able, this has not stopped peo­ple from do­ing it.

“It’s so­cially un­ac­cept­able to drive drunk, and that’s where we need to get with tex­ting,” says Walker. “At­ti­tudes are be­gin­ning to shift, but our ac­tions need to fol­low and driv­ers wait­ing to text when they’re stopped at a red light still isn’t good enough to en­sure ev­ery­one’s safety.”

Find­ings are based on a CAA poll of 2,012 Cana­di­ans. A prob­a­bil­ity sam­ple of the same size would yield a mar­gin of er­ror of +/-2.2%, 19 times out of 20.

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