Driving safe

This week marks National Safe Driving Week, and it seems we could all do with a reminder about slipping safety standards behind the wheel.

A new TELUS survey has found that 36% of Canadian drivers admitted to illegally using their smart phones while driving.

The survey also found that while 70% of Canadian passengers are uncomfortable with drivers using their smart phone behind the wheel, nearly a quarter of them don’t speak up.

To that end, TELUS has launched the ‘Thumbs Up. Phones Down’ campaign to increase awareness of distracted driving and encourage drivers to focus on the road while they are behind the wheel.

In the past week, 36% of respondents acknowledged using their smart phones while driving, including making non-hands-free calls, checking texts and reading emails. In addition, 10% had taken a photo or shot a video.

Most of us understand that using a smart phone while driving is unsafe. When asked to describe the behaviour, 48% said it was ‘bad,’ ‘stupid’ and ‘wrong.’

Surprisingly, just 27% said it is illegal (distracted driving is illegal in all provinces and territories, except Nunavut) and only 18% said that it is ‘dangerous,’ ‘unsafe’ or ‘distracting.’

Part of the problem is folks simply feel they can’t ignore an incoming text or call.

Forty-nine per cent said they feel obligated to address a call, message or text as it comes in while they’re driving.

And two out of five Canadians can’t make it through their average commute (25.4 minutes, according to Stats Canada) without responding to a call, text or message, while 37% of respondents said they would send a text to their boss while driving and 32% would do the same for their friends.

TELUS is inviting all Canadians to join the ‘Thumbs Up. Phones Down’ movement by not using their smart phones while driving.

To help Canadians combat this issue themselves, they have has developed the following tips – before you start driving, put your device on silent, or keep it somewhere where you can’t see or hear it, such as your bag, glove compartment or the backseat. If you can’t wait until the end of your trip, find a spot to safely pull over and put your car in park first before making a call or responding to a message.

If you’re waiting on an important message or call ask a passenger to read it out loud or take it for you so you can keep your eyes on the road.

And if you’re a passenger, speak up. Using a smart phone while driving isn’t only against the law, it could really be a matter of life or death.

To learn more about the risks associated with distracted driving and tips on how to stay safe on the road, visit telus.com/wise. You can also join the conversation and help promote safe driving online using #ThumbsUpPhonesDown.

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