The Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) is calling on all Provincial governments to legislate a restriction on the use of electronic devices by novice drivers in their graduated licensing programs (GDL).
"This restriction is not an effort to 'punish' novice drivers - rather, this is a measure to help them master their driving skills, while reducing distractions," said CAA President David Flewelling. "Novice drivers are subject to many restrictions as they learn to drive, such as not driving on four-lane highways and not driving during certain hours. By also restricting the use of electronic devices, such as cell phones, MP3 players and wireless hand-held devices, they can truly focus on the driving task.
"It is also our hope that a preventative measure like this one will create a generation of motorists who recognize the severe implications of driver distractions - and work towards reducing them where they can."
As part of a larger Driver Distraction campaign, CAA is urging that everyone using our roads and highways make a difference by eliminating or reducing distractions:
- Experienced motorists and their passengers can reduce driver distractions through modified behaviours;
- Employers can implement policies and awareness programs in the workplace that reduce distractions for their workforce; and
- Automobile manufacturers and after-market technology developers
can focus more effort on research and development to reduce sources of driver distractions in vehicles.
The call-to-action is available in detail at www.caa.ca/driventodistraction
According to a study released in April 2006 by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the many forms of distractions are collectively responsible for as many as eight out of every ten crashes.
"Driver distraction is the greatest unreported traffic safety issue in Canada," said Flewelling. "This is why CAA is also calling on drivers, passengers, employers, automobile manufacturers, and technology developers to reduce or eliminate as many distractions as possible from the driving experience. Driving is not a passive activity - it is a complex task that requires the driver's full attention."
For more information on driver distractions and to learn how to reduce or eliminate distractions when you are behind the wheel, go to www.caa.ca/driventodistraction