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Millennials Most Likely to Drive Distracted, Say Canadians in Recent Survey

March 26, 2018
5 mins
A woman driving her car glances and smiles at her un-pictured passenger

Millennials often get a bad rap from other generations, but in a recent survey from Allstate, it turns out they may be equally critical about themselves when it comes to distracted driving.

The Canadian poll, conducted by Leger in early February, showed 80% of Canadians think millennials are the most distracted generation when driving, and millennials, for the most part, agreed. Of the millennials surveyed, 69% pointed the finger at their own generation as being the most distracted when behind the wheel.

“The data shows younger drivers are honest in recognizing the tendencies of their own peer group—but that self-awareness isn’t necessarily leading to changes in risky behaviour,” said Ryan Michel, president and CEO of Allstate Insurance Company of Canada in a release.

Most Canadians agree that the biggest distractors are mobile devices and grooming, but millennials are less likely to believe that eating, playing with a sound system, and looking at roadside distractions will affect their focus.

Weighing Out Key Distractors

Canadians agree that mobile devices and grooming are major distractors (93%), which is no surprise. The survey did turn up a more surprising statistic, however: While 77% of people felt looking at road distractions (such as accidents or billboards) was a distractor, only 69% thought using a navigation device contributed to distracted driving.

The majority of survey respondents also believe that common practices can lead to inattentive driving: 76% of Canadians think eating is distracting and 68% feel the same about drinking a beverage.

“Our aim is to make Canadians more aware of their behaviours and actions on the road. This is an important step to help keep our focus in the right place and our streets safe,” said Michel.

Texting and Driving Still a Major Issue

Provinces across Canada are undertaking a variety of measures to stop Canadians from driving while distracted. This includes blitzes, as well as both overt and covert methods, such as investing in high-powered scopes to catch people in the act.

In a survey from CAA of last year, 96% of people felt texting and driving is a threat to personal safety on the road and 83% say it’s a bigger issue today than it was three years ago, despite anti-texting and driving laws. Texting and driving originally appeared in CAA’s top 10 driving concerns list in 2011.

A report from the National Safety Council shows people using their phones miss out on 50% of their environment.

Technology as the Solution

The vast majority of Canadians think distracted driving is still a major problem and what we’re currently doing to solve the problem simply isn’t working. Last September, Aviva published a survey saying most Canadians think technology that stops people from using their phones while driving is the only solution. In the survey, 88% of people have seen others text and drive, though only one-fifth of people admit doing it.

The major deterrents, at the moment, are fines, demerit points, and increased auto insurance premiums, but only 48% of people in this survey thought those penalties actually work. Meanwhile, 78% believe technology solutions to stop people from using their phones when driving are key in stopping distracted driving and 73% said they’d be on board with using these methods themselves.

Patrick Faller

Patrick is a writer, creative media producer, and award-winning journalist with a love of technology, the arts, and design. He’s passionate about consumer affairs and helping Canadians make the best possible choices when it comes to their finances. You can find him on social media @patfaller.

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