It's weird to think that smartphone addiction could be more dangerous than alcoholism or drug abuse, but when it comes to driving collisions, statistics actually support that proposition.
According to data collected by the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), distracted driving—which mostly consists of drivers texting or talking on their phones—causes more collisions than speeding and alcohol/drug-related collisions combined.
Of the collisions the OPP has tracked in 2017, 6,360 have come as a result of distracted driving, compared to 4,700 from speeding and 1,158 from substances. In fact, that has been the case every year since 2009, with the exception being 2012.
Distracted driving deaths have gone up as well in Ontario. There have been 47 since 2017 began, which is 8 more than the 39 that had taken place at the same time last year.
"Our collision data is compelling evidence that drivers who text, talk on their cellphone or are distracted in some other way, take a tremendous toll on the safety of those who share the road with them," said J.V.N. (Vince) Hawkes, OPP Commissioner, in the organization's press release. "Public complacency about inattentive driving can be just as dangerous as the behaviour itself. Until drivers, passengers and the general public take a firm stand against this road safety issue, these tragedies are expected to continue in large numbers on our roads."
In the report, the OPP also provided some tips on how people can help to reduce distracted driving occurences—both when they are driving and in spreading awareness to others. Its recommendations included keeping cellphones out of sight and pulling over at a safe location if it is absolutely necessary to use, voicing concerns as a passenger if a driver appears distracted, discussing distracted driving dangers with peers and colleagues at school and work, and and drawing attention to distracted driving concerns on social media.