Note to drivers: get your head out of your apps

Keeping hands at ten and two seems to be an outdated idea as people struggle to keep their focus on the road while behind the wheel.

According to Greater Sudbury Police Service, officers issued 145 provincial offences in 2017 for use of handheld communication devices while driving. As of June 6, 2018, officers have issued 180 provincial offences.

“One person is injured every 30 minutes due to distracted driving in Ontario,” says Joe Rocca, Traffic and Asset Management Supervisor, City of Greater Sudbury, and Chair of the Sudbury Road Safety Committee. “Statistics tell us that approximately 37 per cent of adults over 18-years-old in Sudbury and surrounding areas reported talking on a cell phone while driving,” said Rocca.

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Rocca, along with fellow representatives from the Sudbury Road Safety Committee were gathered today to launch a distracted driving campaign. The launch was held at the OPP Station in Sudbury’s south end, complete with a wrecked car demonstrating the destruction that is possible when drivers are distracted.

Distracted driving occurs when a driver’s attention is temporarily diverted from the task of driving to an object, person, or task not related to driving. This includes drinking, adjusting dials in the vehicle, eating, personal grooming, turning around, reaching over, and communicating with people inside or outside the vehicle.

According to Rocca, of all the potential distractions, handheld devices present the highest level of risk.

As part of the campaign, people can expect to see increased messages warning of the dangers of distracted driving. In an effort to appeal to younger drivers, many of these messages will be shared on social media. Carmel McDonald, Ontario Provincial Police Media Relations/Community Safety Officer, says that “simply holding a phone or other device while driving is against the law and holds a fine of up to $1,000 and up to three demerit points.”

“When paramedics are requested to attend motor vehicle collisions, we see first-hand the havoc distractions can create. We welcome any measures that can assist in preventing these tragedies.  People’s lives can be forever changed due to distracted driving which is completely avoidable.” said Commander Shawn-Eric Poulin, City of Greater Sudbury Paramedic Services.

“Driver distraction increases the chance of a crash by 23 times. Rates of distracted driving continue to increase” said Raymond Beaudry, Public Health Nurse with Public Health Sudbury & Districts.

Together, members of the Sudbury Road Safety Committee are calling on all citizens of Greater Sudbury and surrounding districts to be proactive in keeping the roads safe by keeping your attention on the road. This includes setting a good example by driving distraction free, and reminding friends and family to do the same. Follow the Sudbury Road Safety Committee on Facebook and Twitter @SafeRoadsCGS to learn more and for access to safe driving messages you can share with your friends and followers.

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