[Road safety] Distracted driving is responsible for 27% of road fatalities in BC

Statistics show that British Columbia is the province most affected by distracted driving in Canada, with too many crashes and fatalities caused by irresponsible drivers.

Distracted driving is the cause of many road fatalities in Canada every year (credit: Alabama Department of Transportation)

21 %

The percentage of road fatalities...

caused by distracted driving in Canada

$102.3 million

The cost of distracted driving...

each year for car insurance companies in Canada

78 deaths

Are caused every year

because of distracted drivers in BC

Almost 80 BC drivers die every year because of distracted driving

How does distracted driving impact road statistics in BC? The numbers show that BC is Canada's most negatively-affected province in this regard.

Indeed, the data we could consult on the governmental websites show that:

Good to know

In Canada, 1,762 people died on the roads in 2019. Distracted driving is estimated to be responsible for 21% of these fatalities, representing a total of 370 deaths across the country over that year.

That trend also reflects when looking at the numbers of motor vehicle collisions in the same four provinces:

  • Distracted driving seems to be particularly problematic in BC, with 35.2% of total motor vehicle crashes estimated to be related to distracted driving. In Alberta, this percentage is significantly lower (25.2% of crashes related to distracted driving).
  • Indeed, in 2019, the BC police reported a total of 12,476 crashes caused by distracted drivers!
  • Quebec is the least-affected province among the big four, at 21% of road crashes related to distracted driving.
ProvinceMotor vehicle crashes related to distracted drivingTotal police-reported road crashesProportion of distracted driving related crashes
British Colombia
Sources: CAA, Government of Alberta, ICBC, SAAQ, Ministry of Transportation of Ontario

Watch out!

*The numbers for Alberta are not those of the crashes reported by the police, but the overall estimated number of crashes estimated by the government. This explains the big difference with the other provinces. The percentage of distracted driving-related crashes is the most significant indicator to consider here.

$102.3 million: the estimated cost of distracted driving to car insurance companies in Canada in 2021

Obviously, the road injuries and crashes caused by distracted driving have a cost for the car insurance companies. We estimate it to be around $102 million per year. Every year the distracted driving statistics increase, and we have tried to estimate what that could cost car insurance in the near future.

For this, we have built two scenarios, considering that (unfortunately), distracting driving-related collisions will continue to increase :

Scenario 1
A 2% annual increase in distracted driving-related collisions in Canada
Scenario 2
A 5% annual increase in distracted driving-related collisions in Canada

And here is what our projections show:

Good to know

A poll conducted by the Traffic Injury Research Foundation in 2020 gives interesting insights on distracted driving in Canada. "Almost one in ten Canadian drivers (9.7%) reported texting while driving in 2019. This represents an increase over 2018, when 7.5% reported doing so, and a 102% increase compared to 2010. Talking on a handheld device while driving also increased to 11.7% from 9.3% in 2018; however, talking on a hands-free device decreased from 36.5% to 32%", the document states.

Using your phone while driving costs a minimum of $432.5 in Canada

Legislation exists in all Canadian provinces prohibiting the use of mobile phones while driving. All provinces have their own legislation and punishment for this type of infraction. However, the line chart below shows that the level of severity regarding distracted driving depends on the provinces :

We can see that BC ranks among the two most severe provinces regarding distracted driving, with a minimum $620 fine for drivers using their mobile phones. However, the amount for distracted driving fines doubles for repeated infractions. The infraction can reach $3,000, as is the case in Ontario, which has the highest maximum penalty in Canada.

Our methodology

The above-mentioned information is accurate as of the date of publication. All our studies are based on reliable information sourced from public and private organizations. For further information on our editorial guidelines please click here.

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