Distracted Driving in Ontario

Author(s): Di Felice

Slidedeck Presentation:

CAA_Di Felice_4B



In 2019, the Ontario government introduced stricter fines and penalties including demerit points and licence suspension for those caught driving distracted. We would like to know whether they have made a difference in terms of discouraging drivers from using their hand-held devices. CAA is dedicated to helping change certain rules and regulations for Ontario’s roads that will improve safety for everyone who uses them. Through its road safety efforts, CAA has been helping to educate and bring awareness about distracted driving, with a goal of being the go-to-source for information and expertise on road safety. This distracted driving survey (to be conducted in March 2022) will be our 4th external survey on this topic in Ontario.


Through this survey we hope to learn/understand:

  • The demographic profile of those that drive while using their mobile device
  • Drivers’ perception of distracted driving
  • Usage of mobile devices while driving and evaluate experiences with collisions that have resulted from distracted driving
  • Measure awareness / familiarity with current fines and assess the support for increased fines and stricter penalties for distracted driving
  • What drivers would consider to be effective in discouraging people to drive while using their mobile device
  • Measure if they have had and/or have seen a close call (almost crashed, ran a stop sign, hit a pedestrian, etc.) because of distracted driving
  • Perception of danger for distracted driving in relation to impaired driving and speeding.
  • Insights into how drivers prevent distracted driving (do not disturb, turning off their phone, putting it away, giving it to a passenger, etc.)
  • Awareness of educational materials and who they are hearing messaging from (CAA, insurance companies, government, police, other road safety organizations).
  • Understand driver perception of distracted driving convictions have on insurance. This includes their perspective on insurance being impacted by convictions (currently) and determine their support around changing the classification of these infractions as major convictions and thus having a direct impact on insurance premiums for those convicted of an offence.


This research will be conducted through an online survey of 1,500 Ontario licenced drivers.


As this survey will not be conducted until March 2022, results are available to be shared at this time.


Once the research is completed, we will use the results to influence our education campaigns and advocacy efforts.


While we will have to wait and see what the survey results show before drawing any conclusions, our hypothesis is that while Ontarians know the dangers of driving distracted and agree that more can be done to prevent it, a large percentage are still engaging in this behaviour.