[Road safety] $102.3 million : the cost of distracted driving for car insurers every year in Canada

Car insurance companies and public health systems end up paying the cost for distracted driving

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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

370 deaths

Are caused every year...

because of distracted drivers across Canada


Distracted driving could end up costing up to $159 million by 2030 in Canada

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

270 Canadian drivers die every year because of distracted driving

How does distracted driving impact road statistics in Canada? Actually, 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.

How do the 4 biggest provinces of Canada compare in this regard ? We have done the analysis :

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
Quebec5,90328,10921%
Ontario9,46143,35321.8%
Alberta*33,581133,124*25.2%
British Colombia12,47635,44635.2%
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.

$432.5 the median distracted driving minimum fine 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.

About Hellosafe.ca

Hellosafe.ca is our comparison platform that is shaking up the insurance market – giving you access to the best insurance deals in Canada in fewer than 30 seconds. Safe is supported and financed by Blue, an Insuretech Venture Capital firm. Blue already owns two leaders in the French insurance comparison market. These platforms help more than 10 million people find better, less expensive insurance every year. We have developed a unique comparison technology that offers quotes without asking users to give their phone number or email address. This engine is the result of four years of hard work.Access all our most recent publications on our newsroom page :

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Alexandre Desoutter
Communications & PR officer

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