Public health authorities in Sudbury, Ontario, are speaking up to educate the public around the dangers of distracted driving, and how it is becoming a major health issue in the city.
Speaking with CBC News, Public Health Sudbury and Districts nurse, Raymond Beaudry, says they are working with the Sudbury Road Safety Committee to help curb distracted driving, which is now the leading cause for death and injury on roads, according to Beaudry.
Beaudry believes the rise of distracted driving is due to the fact more people have grown up with their smartphones, now an integral part of day to day life.
“Honestly, I don’t blame anyone for texting and driving, especially the youth,” he says. “People from 16-24, statistics are showing they’re more common to go toward their phone and it’s because it’s become a pertinent part of their lives,” said Beaudry.
Simply HOLDING your phone while driving holds a fine of up to $1000. #DistractedDriving has become not only a significant #police issue but a #health issue as well: https://t.co/56WGneiJ3B @SafeRoadsCGS @MorningNorth @OPP_NER @PublicHealthSD #DontTextAndDrive pic.twitter.com/B3xAr88MMB
— Sudbury Police (@SudburyPolice) June 18, 2018
In 2017, Greater Sudbury Police handed out 145 distracted driving tickets for the year, but in the first six months of 2018 alone–tickets issued have already exceeded 180.
The Chair of the Sudbury Road Safety Committee, Joe Rocca, noted a person is injured every 30 minutes from incidents caused by distracted driving. The committee plans to educate the public on the dangers of distracted driving through social media campaigns, to target younger drivers.
“Simply holding a phone or other device while driving is against the law and holds a fine of up to $1000 and up to three demerit points,” said Carmel McDonald, Ontario Provincial Police Media Relations/Community Safety Officer, who is also on the committee.