Car Safety

Canadians are still hung up on their cells

In spite of legislation, poll says we just can't get off the phone

Field operational tests /(EU-project - EuroFOT ) run by SAFER Chalmers Technical University, Volvo Cars and others within the automotive industry. The driver's behaviour is measured, eye movements etc. Measurement of the field data is performed by the car's own systems, extra sensors and cameras which are filming what is happening within and around the car while driving. The test vehicles (about 100 Volvos) are equipped with a computer that stores the driver's activities. Photographer: Jan-Olof Yxell

In spite of legislation prohibiting the use of hand-held devices while driving, a just-released Angus-Reid poll says Canadians still refuse to hang up.

The firm polled 1,001 adult Canadians online and found that 90% had seen someone talking on their hand-helds while driving even after legislation was enacted. Respondents in favour of a federal ban numbered 89%, up six points from the same question posed in November 2010.

When it comes to dodgy driving habits, most of us have seen somebody doing something they shouldn't: 87% said they'd seen drivers speeding and 82% said they'd seen a driver make a turn without signalling at some point in the past month; 77% reported tailgaters, 67% reported lane-cutting without notice, 65% reported having seen "multi-tasking" and 59% had seen another driver run a red light.

Almost half (46%) said they'd seen either a driver (or passenger) littering or making an illegal turn (45%). A driver invading the crosswalk while pedestrians were in it was spotted by 33% of respondents.

When it comes to cutting into a lane without notice and tailgating, the poll found that Albertans and British Columbians were the worst offenders. Littering was least seen in Atlantic Canada, and crosswalk invasions seldom reported in Quebec.

So what do all these spectators to bad behaviour do? 53% said they honk, 29% said they swear, 20% said they wave their fist or hand, while only 15% cop to making obscene gestures and only 9% have called the cops. Albertans were most likely to cuss the driver out, wave their fists or call the police.

In spite of it all, 78% of respondents nationally said that "none" or just "a few" of the drivers in their municipality are bad drivers. Only 20% said most or all of them were bad.

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