November 21, 2007

CAA-Quebec study warns drivers to beware of distractions while driving and calls for cell phone ban

Quebec, Quebec – CAA-Quebec says that a joint study conducted with public affairs television program JE offers a unique perspective on the issue of distractions while driving, but there is still much to do. The show was broadcast last week on the TVA Network.

“Most motorists will certainly see themselves reflected in this report, and we hope our elected officials will too,” said Sophie Gagnon, Director, Public and Government Relations, CAA-Quebec. “In light of several awareness campaigns on issues as vital as speeding or driving while under the influence of alcohol, there is a pressing need to talk publicly about the dangers related to distractions while driving.”

Gagnon said that all elected officials must understand that simply having a cell phone conversation, regardless of the type of device used, is what requires the driver’s attention. “Our study also shows that the Minister of Transport should review her position regarding the use of cell phones while driving, with a view to banning all of them, including hands-free devices, which place just as many constraints on the driver. The current legislation, as presented by the Minister, will not likely decrease the number of people who talk on the phone while driving. In fact, it will likely boost the sale of hands-free accessories.”

The study showed that aggressive driving, tailgating, and weaving in and out of traffic lanes are examples of the effects of distraction observed in the study. Answering a phone call using a handset resulted in an average loss of attention over nine seconds; a driver making a call with a hands-free device has a 52-second loss of attention.

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