June 17, 2003

Federal government explores strategies to reduce driver distraction

Ottawa, Ontario – Transport Minister David Collenette has released a discussion document outlining possible strategies to reduce driver distraction from in-vehicle communication technologies, such as navigational systems and Internet access.

“Driver distraction is a significant contributing factor in collisions,” said Mr. Collenette. “As part of Transport Canada’s ongoing commitment to safety, we are actively engaging the industry, provinces and territories and road safety stakeholders in order to address this safety issue.”

This discussion paper begins Transport Canada’s next phase of consultations with road safety stakeholders; outlines Transport Canada’s concerns with the impact of these devices on driver distraction and on road safety; and explores possible options, including regulations, for enhancing the safety of all Canadians.

Cellular phones are the most common type of electronic device currently used in vehicles, but other technologies and applications, such as navigation systems and Internet access, are entering the market. Under the Motor Vehicles Safety Act, when these devices are offered as original vehicle equipment, they are subject to federal jurisdiction. However, after-market equipment, such as cell phones, falls under provincial and territorial jurisdiction.

“Transport Canada is committed to reducing driver distraction from these in-vehicle communication devices and is considering all possible strategies, including awareness campaigns, industry guidelines and regulatory options to improve the safety of Canadians,” added Mr. Collenette.

The discussion document was published in the Canada Gazette, Part I on June 14, 2003. It is also available on Transport Canada’s Web site.

Interested parties should provide comments before September 10, 2003, according to Transport Canada.

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