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CAA poll shows Canadians equally concerned about most forms of poor driving

The Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) conducted a poll from Nov. 24 to Dec. 2, 2021 with 2009 participants that showed the top eight poor driving behaviours are each about as threatening as each other
distracted driving getty images
Anything that causes a driver to take their attention off the road is a distraction, but increases in distracted driving have correlated with increases in technology (Getty Images)

The Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) conducted a poll from Nov. 24 to Dec. 2, 2021 with 2009 participants that showed the top eight poor driving behaviours are each about as threatening as the others.

The poll asked Canadians to rate driving behaviours they see as a serous safety threat. Twelve behaviours were rated. The results were:

  1. People driving after drinking alcohol (93%)
    People driving after using illegal drugs (93%)
    Drivers running red lights (93%)
  2. People using their phones while driving (92%)
    People driving aggressively (92%)
    Sleepy drivers (92%)
  3. Drivers speeding on residential streets (91%)
  4. People driving well over the speed limit (90%)
  5. People driving after using cannabis (85%)
  6. Drivers speeding on freeways (80%)
  7. People engaging with their in-car technologies (67%)
  8. People driving after taking prescription drugs (64%)

The results show that Canadians are essentially equally concerned by aggressive, impaired, and distracted drivers. Cannabis use was rated as a lower concern than alcohol or illegal drugs. Speeding on the freeway was less concerning to Canadians than speeding in residential areas.

Canadians were not as concerned about in-car technologies or those who drove after taking prescription drugs.

The sample size of the poll (with 2009 participants) makes it likely to accurately reflect driving anxieties nationwide. The Prairie Provinces contributed over 600 participants, with about 150 from Saskatchewan.

National traffic safety statistics from 2019 released by Transport Canada show that the year of 2019 had the fewest fatalities, serious injuries, and total injuries since data began to be collected in the early 1970s. This may be influenced by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, encouragingly, the report provides data from the last 20 years demonstrating that despite a steady increase in the number of drivers and vehicles on Canadian roads, accidents resulting in deaths and serious injuries continue to decline.

According to Transport Canada’s statistics, speeding/excessive speed for the road conditions is the greatest controllable factor in fatal collisions. Speeding and excessive speed are followed very closely by impairment and distraction. Distraction was a greater contributor to fatal traffic accidents than impairment in 2018 and 2019.

The CAA poll results also had many participants admit to driving distracted at least once. By contrast, 93% of respondents said it was important to have alternative travel arrangements after consuming alcohol. Having alternative travel arrangements after consuming cannabis was important to 87% of respondents.

Christine Niemczyk, director of corporate communications with CAA Saskatchewan, said “At any time of year, but especially during the holidays, we all want and deserve to get home safe and sound. We urge everyone to make safe decisions – plan ahead and keep your focus on the road.”