Research Papers

Canadian legislative approaches to discourage distracted driving

Filename Harbluk.pdf
Filesize 118 KB
Version 1
Date added June 6, 2010
Downloaded 3 times/fois
Category 2010 CMRSC XX Niagara
Tags Session 2B
Author/Auteur Joanne L. Harbluk, Meghan Provost, Paul Boase, Peter C. Burns


Canadians have witnessed considerable legislative activity this past year intended to address the safety concerns of distracted driving. As of March 2010, over 90% of Canada’s licensed drivers are affected by distraction legislation in their home province or territory. In this paper, we provide a snapshot of the current situation with respect to distraction legislation in Canada capturing the recent developments in this area. Legislative approaches to distracted driving are not uniform across Canada. Approaches to legislation can differ on dimensions such as the technological focus (cell phones or a broader range of technologies/activities), the methods of interaction with the technologies (hand-held vs. hands free), the targeted users (e.g., novice drivers, professional drivers) and the types of penalties imposed. There have been many recent developments and much has changed in terms of the technologies themselves and the sorts of interactions that drivers carry out. For example, early laws targeting cell phone use were developed without anticipating the popularity of texting, portable GPS systems or the explosion of applications available for smart phones. This paper provides an examination of the similarities and differences in distraction legislation among Canadian jurisdictions as well as a scan of international legislation and what is known about the effectiveness of various approaches. Finally, a look forward at emerging trends in vehicle technologies is provided with a consideration of the implications for issues of driver distraction.

Joanne L. Harbluk, Meghan Provost, Paul Boase and Peter C. Burns