Using a cellphone while driving caused more than 140 serious or deadly accidents in Nova Scotia last year, according to the latest statistics released by the RCMP (via GlobalNews).
“Having a number like that is far too many and the these situations are preventable,” Cpl. Dal Hutchinson said, a member of Halifax District RCMP.
But using a cellphone while driving is just one of the actions classified as distracted driving. The police say distracted driving is classified as anything that takes the driver’s eyes off the road. And there is a law in Nova Scotia against using a cellphone while driving: “Distracted driving, just the same as impaired driving, has long-term consequences. So that’s why it’s really important to ingrain it in your mind, to stop, to refrain from doing it”, Hutchinson said.
The federal government has been asked to make distracted driving a criminal code offence in Canada. And Québec Premier Philippe Couillard is one of the initiators of such a law.
The Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) believes an extra second in reaction time could prevent 80% of car accidents and is urging drivers to think twice before using their cellphones while sitting behind the wheel of a moving vehicle.
“Texting for five seconds, you can travel the length of a football field. So imagine closing your eyes for five seconds while you drive, serious implications and we fully support police agencies in terms of getting this message out,” Gary Howard, the director of communications for CAA Atlantic said.
The police are encouraging the use of Bluetooth connectivity while driving, as well as hands-free, to keep the driver’s eyes on the road.