B.C. drivers believe roads are safer (and pay more attention) now that phones are banned while driving

Marking one year of banned cellphone usage while driving, the BCAA unveiled the results of an online survey of more than 2,000 drivers.

57 percent of participants believe our roads are safer now, and, more important, 34 percent claim they now pay more attention to the road because of the law.

Still, the bans haven’t fully purged the plague: 13 percent admitted they still use their phones “occasionally” while driving. An additional 14 percent use their phones more than once per week via a hands-free device. Four percent say they still text often, and seven percent say they still text occasionally. Furthermore, 80 percent of those surveyed say that they frequently see other drivers using handheld phones. How do they respond? 55 percent offer up a dirty look, three percent roll down their window to say something, and two percent jot down the license plate number and notify the police.

“While BCAA doesn’t recommend engaging with other drivers over their cell phone and texting habits, the responses to this survey suggest drivers are frustrated by those who continue to disobey the law,” said Trace Acres, BCAA’s director of corporate communications and public affairs. “Although awareness of, and compliance with, the law appears to be high, it seems we still have a ways to go to make everyone understand the dangers of driving while distracted.”

The survey results reveal that advertisements discouraging texting and driving are ineffective, and that education and information from the government to the public about the potential dangers of such habits is inadequate. Many survey participants also noted that many other dangers are inadequately addressed: eating, applying makeup, having a pet on the driver’s lap, etc.

We’re still clearly a long distance from truly safe roads. But progress is progress, I suppose.