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14 Distracted Driving Facts Statistics in Canada (Updated in 2023)

man using phone while driving the car

Note: This article’s statistics come from third-party sources and do not represent the opinions of this website.

There are various causes for car accidents on the road, and alcohol is usually the suspected culprit, but one of the biggest causes is distracted driving. As the pace of life escalates, so does the movement on the roads, and we can quickly become distracted in our cars while answering calls and texts, applying makeup, or eating a snack.

These statistics prove how much we rely on our devices and how easily distracted we can become while driving. The consequences are irreversible, but knowing the 14 statistics below can help you maintain more focus while driving.

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The 14 Distracted Driving Facts Statistics in Canada

  1. The total number of registered road motor vehicles in Canada increased to 26.2 million in 2021.
  2. Distracted drivers are 3.6 times more likely to be involved in a car accident.
  3. 3 out of 4 Canadians admit to distracted driving.
  4. Every half hour, one person is injured in a distracted driving collision in Ontario.
  5. Drivers between the ages of 13–19 are the most likely to be involved in a car accident that results in death or serious injuries.
  6. It costs car insurance companies $102.3 million each year in Canada for distracted driving claims.
  7. Over 660,000 drivers attempt to text and drive at any time during the day.
  8. 47% of all Canadian drivers use smartphones while driving.
  9. 33% of Canadians use their phone at the traffic light while waiting for it to turn green.
  10. Sending or reading a text message takes your attention away from the road for 5 seconds.
  11. Distracted driving makes up 21% of fatalities in Canada.
  12. 78 deaths are caused every year due to distracted driving.
  13. In some parts of Canada, distracted driving fatalities have exceeded impaired driving fatalities.
  14. Fatigued drivers are responsible for 20% of fatal car accidents, according to statistics.

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General Distracted Driving Statistics

1. The total number of registered road motor vehicles in Canada increased to 26.2 million in 2021.

(statcan)

The total number of registered road motor vehicles in Canada increased to 26.2 million in 2021, a 1.9% increase over 2020. This is a good statistic to start with to gain perspective on how many drivers may be distracted by their smartphones, daydreaming after a busy day at work, or eating in-between meetings. In Ontario, there are approximately 10.62 million licensed drivers, and this number is increasing by approximately 300,000 per year. Every year, over 4.7 million driver’s licenses are issued or renewed. This increase in drivers may increase the risks associated with distracted driving.

Traffic jam on a busy highway at rush hour Canada
Image Credit: Daniel Avram, Shutterstock

2. Distracted drivers are 3.6 times more likely to be involved in a car accident.

(CAA)

Drivers are 3.6 times more likely to crash if they use an electronic device while driving, yet most Canadians admit to using one. The temptation of technology seems to be sadly overriding the importance of staying focused and attentive.


3. 3 out of 4 Canadians admit to distracted driving.

(Newswire)

Three out of every four Canadian drivers admit to driving while distracted. Nonetheless, most Canadians support distracted driving laws. Activities that may cause distractions include texting, eating, reaching for an object, and even watching videos! Many of us are so addicted to our devices that we are tempted to watch a video while driving. Even more surprising is that one in 10 drivers say they would object if a passenger asked them to stop the behavior causing the distraction.

man texting while driving
Image Credit: Tero Vesalainen, Shutterstock

4. Every half hour, one person is injured in a distracted driving collision in Ontario.

(Campisi Law)

One person is injured in a collision every half an hour due to distracted driving, equating to 48 people a day! This could be a passenger, driver, or pedestrian affected by distracted driving, and these injuries could easily be avoided by focusing on the road.


5. Drivers between the ages of 13–19 are the most likely to be involved in a car accident that results in death or serious injuries.

(CDC)

In 2020, approximately 2,800 teenagers aged 13 to 19 were killed, and approximately 227,000 were injured in motor vehicle accidents. That means that about eight teenagers die in car accidents every day, and hundreds more are injured. Distraction impairs driving performance in all drivers, but it is especially dangerous in young, inexperienced drivers.

Aftermath of a car crash accident at a very busy intersection Canada
Image Credit: Daniel Avram, Shutterstock

6. It costs car insurance companies $102.3 million each year in Canada for distracted driving claims.

(Hellosafe)

Obviously, distracted driving-related road injuries and crashes cost car insurance companies a lot of money. The annual cost is estimated to be around $102 million. Every year the statistics for distracted driving increase, which means that car insurance will likely increase by 2%-5% in Canada annually.

Optimistic projections are that distracted driving will cost $122.3 million by 2030, representing a $20 million increase for car insurance companies, while the pessimistic outlook is that it could cost $158.7 million by 2030, representing a $55.7 million increase for car insurance companies.

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The use of Devices While Driving

7. Over 660,000 drivers attempt to text and drive at any time during the day.

(Edgar Snyder)

The statistics demonstrating the dangers of cellphone use while driving is shocking. Approximately 660,000 drivers are attempting to use their phones while driving at any given time during the day. Smartphones have become a massive part of our lives and are very distracting while driving.

woman texting while driving
Image Credit: Boomie, Pixabay

8. 47% of all Canadian drivers use smartphones while driving.

(Servus.Johnson)

Even though the chances of a vehicle accident are 23 times more likely when distracted, 47% of Canadians use their smartphones while driving. This could be making or answering calls, texting, emailing, using maps, changing maps, and even scrolling social media, especially if a driver hears that notification ping.


9. 33% of Canadians use their phone at the traffic light while waiting for it to turn green.

(Cacp.ca)

Being Hands-free doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll avoid being distracted by your device. Instead of staying attentive at the traffic lights, 33% of Canadians admit to using their phone while waiting for the traffic light to turn green. This can interrupt traffic flow, and if drivers behind or around you are also distracted and not paying attention, it can potentially cause a collision.

Texting and driving
Image Credit: StockSnap, Pixabay

10. Sending or reading a text message takes your attention away from the road for 5 seconds.

(CAA)

While that may not seem like a long time, at 90 km/h, that’s equivalent to driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed. That is a scary amount of time when you think about having your eyes closed on a busy motorway! Five seconds is all it takes at the wrong time to cause a collision.

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11. Distracted driving makes up 27% of fatalities in Canada.

(Hellosafe)

Every year, nearly 80 drivers in British Columbia are killed due to distracted driving, ranking it the worst province in Canada for distracted driving, followed by Alberta, Ontario, and Quebec. Distracted driving is estimated to be responsible for 27% of fatalities in Canada.

Sad female driver standing on street side shocked after car accident
Image Credit: Bilanol, Shutterstock

12. 78 deaths are caused every year due to distracted driving.

(Hellosafe)

Car accidents can be minor in some cases, but some can be fatal, and what’s unfortunate is that they can be avoided. Distracted driving is one of the most common causes of vehicle collisions, and it is estimated that there are about 78 deaths caused every year because of it.


13. In some parts of Canada, distracted driving fatalities have exceeded impaired driving fatalities.

(CAA)

Impaired driving can be caused by drinking alcohol or consuming drugs. It would make sense that impaired driving would be the leading cause of fatal accidents, but in some areas of Canada, the fatalities caused by distracted driving have surpassed the number of deaths caused by impaired driving.

blue car severely dented by an accident
Image Credit: Hucklebarry, Pixabay

14. Fatigued drivers are responsible for 20% of fatal car accidents, according to statistics.

(CACP)

Driving fatigued will quickly reduce attention, focus, and reaction times. It can also lead to daydreaming while driving, which is a huge distraction. As a result, it is not surprising that fatigue contributes to many fatal accidents on Canadian roads.

Approximately 60% of drivers admitted to occasionally driving with mental and physical stress caused by fatigue.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Distracted Driving in Canada

What are the Most Dangerous Activities that Cause Accidents?

The most dangerous tasks (while driving) are using a handheld device, applying makeup, and reaching for an object. Others include daydreaming, vaping or smoking, eating, and talking.

Woman smoking a cigarette at the wheel of a car
Image Credit: MLIN, Shutterstock

What are the Laws Around Distracted Driving in Canada?

The penalties for distracted driving for drivers with an A, B, C, D, E, F, G, or M license are:

First offense: A $1,000 fine, three demerit points, and a three-day suspension.

Second offense: Up to $2,000 in fines, six demerit points, and a 7-day suspension.

Third and subsequent offenses: Up to $3,000 in fines, six demerit points, and a 30-day suspension.

Drivers with G1, G2, M1, or M2 licenses convicted of distracted driving face the same fines as those with A to G licenses but without demerit points.

How Do You Avoid Distracted Driving?

Distracted and careless driving includes a wide range of issues, but you should keep this in mind when driving.

  • Avoid using your phone. Either pull over to make or answer your call or ask a passenger to assist.
  • Use hands-free devices in your vehicle.
  • Switch your phone off or on silent to avoid being distracted.
  • Do not multitask and keep your eyes on the road.
  • Avoid eating, drinking, and smoking while driving.
  • As a passenger, make it your responsibility to speak up and ask the driver to focus on the road.

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Conclusion

Distracted driving has vast consequences on the roads of Canada, and the deadly outcomes can be easily avoided.  When driving, it is critical to focus on the road and the area around you. As a vehicle owner and driver in Canada, it is essential to remember that you alone are responsible for your actions while driving. Driving distracted can harm you and other motorists, and waiting a little longer to answer that call or snack a little later never hurts.


Featured Image Credit: NDAB Creativity, Shutterstock

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