Risky Driving Behaviour in Canada

Author(s): Brian Jonah

Slidedeck Presentation Only (no paper submitted):

6C - Jonah


A survey was conducted in June 2014 to determine respondents’ self-reported risky driving behaviour and their perceptions of these behaviours. The purpose of the survey is to create a baseline measure of driving behaviours and perceptions which can be tracked over time to assess progress on Canada’s Road Safety Strategy 2015.

Telephone interviews were conducted with 3,888 licensed drivers aged 16 and over who had driven at least once in the past 30 days. Both landline and mobile phone numbers were accessed using random-digit dialing and quota sampling to ensure sufficient numbers of respondents in the various age and gender groups. The sample was stratified by seven regions (BC, AB, SK/MB, ON, QC, Atlantic, North). The data were weighted by the number of licensed drivers in each region to obtain national estimates.

The percentage of respondents in each age and gender group who reported engaging in the various driving behaviours is presented. Drivers 21-24 were more likely to exceed the speed limit (90%), drive while tired (79%), drive aggressively (59%), drive while talking on a hand-held cell phone (58%), drive while texting (48%), and drive within two hours of drinking 2 or more drinks (29%) than other drivers. For most of the risky driving behaviours, the pattern showed an increase in the behaviour from the 16-20 age group to the 21-24 age group and then a decline in the frequency with age. The exceptions were driving after using prescription drugs and after cannabis use which were slightly higher among drivers aged 16-20 than other drivers. Not surprisingly, male drivers were more likely to engage in risky driving than females with the exception of driving after using prescription drugs and texting while driving where they were similar.

The same driving behaviours are presented by three age groups (16-24, 25-54, 55+) separately for males and females.Young (16-24) males and female drivers were more likely to report aggressive driving, driving while talking on a hand-held phone, texting and driving, not wearing a seat belt, and driving after using cannabis than older drivers. While generally, young males engaged in more risky driving than young females, females were slightly more likely to drive while talking on a cell phone or texting.

Results on the perceived danger of these driving behaviours, agreement that alcohol, cannabis and other drugs impair driving, perceived likelihood of being caught for driving impaired by alcohol and other drugs are also presented.

The risky driving behaviours were found to be correlated with coefficients mostly ranging from .20 to .40. Multiple regressions were conducted to determine what variables predict the various driving behaviours.

The results of this survey will be compared with those of future surveys to determine whether risky driving is changing over time