People are busy. Increasing efficiency and multitasking are the norm. Smartphones, texting, talking, music, movies, dogs, kids, friends, the never-ending “to-do” list, and the ridiculous driver who just cut you off. Distractions are everywhere we go, including our cars.
What do you think about when you hear distractions and challenges while driving? Is it just someone else’s problem? Is distracted driving really an issue we need to talk about?
Consider the facts:
- Every day across B.C., an average of 1,200 people will need medical treatment for a serious injury, four people will die, and thousands of dollars will be spent on treating those seriously injured. Families, workplaces, and communities will be disrupted temporarily or forever.
- Traffic-related injuries continue to be a leading cause of death and hospitalization.
- About one-quarter of all fatal crashes in B.C. are the result of distracted driving, resulting in over 90 deaths.
- Talking on a cellphone? You are four times more likely to be involved in a crash.
- Texting while driving? You are 23 times more likely to be involved in a crash.
You may not be thinking about the real risk of your distraction when making that quick trip to soccer practice, when dropping the children off at school, when racing to work just in the nick of time, when plugging another movie in for the kids while cruising down the highway, when trying to find that great new song on your handheld, or when making that quick call that will “only take a moment.”
Are you still thinking that distracted driving is just an issue for the other drivers on the road? Is this just an issue for new drivers? Or, do we all see ourselves as a driver, passenger, pedestrian, or other road-user trying to get about our day? Distractions put everyone at risk.
What choices can you make, today and every day, to ignore the distractions and focus on driving? For more information, ideas, and tips on preventing distracted driving, please visit preventable.ca, parachutecanada.org, and icbc.com/road-safety/crashes-happen/Pages/Distracted-driving.aspx
This article was first published in A Healthier You, a joint publication of Northern Health and the Prince George Citizen.
About Denise Foucher
Denise is an injury prevention coordinator with Northern Health’s population health team and is passionate about working towards health and wellness for everyone in Northern B.C. When not at work, Denise can be found out at the lake, walking her dog, planning her next travel adventure, or snuggled in a cozy chair with a good book.