Distracted drivers have now become the number 1 cause of fatal crashes in Nova Scotia.
AMHERST - Distracted drivers have now become the number 1 cause of fatal crashes in Nova Scotia.
The RCMP’s analysis over the last five years has identified four major factors leading to fatal motor vehicle collisions. They are: Impairment by drug or alcohol, speed (aggressive driving), unbelted occupants and distracted driving.
“Over the last five years, 33 per cent of fatalities were attributed to driver distraction, making it the number 1 cause,” Const. Travise Dow of the Cumberland District RCMP said.
Too often drivers justify driving while distracted every day, the reality is that motorists have a huge responsibility in making our roads safer, Dow said.
“They must remain focused on the task of driving. That means constantly making yourself aware of the external environment (traffic volume, speed, weather conditions, etc.).”
Driver distraction includes anything that takes the focus off the road, the use of handheld devices (cell phones, GPS), as well as being distracted by passengers in the vehicle.
Because of the difficulty of identifying distracted drivers, the RCMP is making the issue a high priority.
Through education, communication and enforcement the RCMP attempts to make Nova Scotia roads a safer place.
Last year, the RCMP issued 28,677 violation tickets relative to the four major factors of fatal and serious injury collisions. Of that, 2,841 were distracted driving and cell phone violations.
Over the last three months alone, the RCMP issued 1,064 cell phone tickets in Nova Scotia.
Ultimately, drivers have to change their behaviour, Dow said.
“Driving is a huge responsibility. Drivers must remain focused on the task of driving, be aware of their surroundings, know their vehicle and keep cell phones turned off when driving.”
STATS: (RCMP Jurisdiction in NS)
Percentage over the last 5 years:
Distracted Driving – 33 per cent of fatalities
Speed – 31 per cent of fatalities
Unbelted Occupants - 28 per cent of fatalities
Impairment by drug or alcohol – 26 per cent of fatalities