Kingston: Partners for a Safe Community (KPSC) found some disappointing results after carrying out their annual Distracted Driving Checkpoints campaign.
KPSC conducted their Distracted Driving Checkpoints campaign on Friday, Jun. 7, 2019. According to the data they collected, the number of drivers that were seen using cellphones while driving this year is one per cent higher than those counted during their campaign last year.
“Considering that drivers who use handheld cellphones are four times more likely to be in a collision than a driver who is focused on the road, you wonder why those people are still taking chances,” Kingston: Partners for a Safe Community (KPSC) said in a press release after the organization held their Distracted Driving Checkpoints.
KPSC volunteers held two one-hour checkpoints – one at the intersection of Sir John A Macdonald Boulevard and Bath Road, and the other at Fort Henry Drive and Highway 2. The volunteers were not only counting the number of drivers passing through the checkpoints, but also the number of drivers who were handheld cellphones to either talk or text. Over the course of those two hours, 3,824 drivers were observed passing through the busy intersections, KPSC said. Of those drivers, 72 were seen distracted by cellphones.
“That two per cent of the population who are driving distracted could cause a number of accidents resulting in injuries, and even deaths,” KPSC said, noting that, on average, one person is injured in a distracted driving collision every half hour, according to the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario.
Based on the results, KPSC found that the 98.1 per cent drivers were in compliance with their Kingston Distracted Driving law, which is one per cent less than the compliance rate found during their 2018 Distracted Driving Checkpoints campaign.
Additionally, KPSC observed a number of other distracted driving behaviours, including eating and drinking, changing the radio, removing clothing, yelling at other drivers, and driving with no hands on the wheel.
“It is unfortunate that some drivers still continue to be distracted by their hand-held devices,” KPSC said.
“Until the compliance rate is 100%, we will continue to educate the community on distracted driving.”
KPSC, a not-for-profit, charitable organization that provides activities and programs in the community aimed at reducing injuries and preventable deaths, as well as promoting safety. The organization will celebrate its 22nd anniversary later this month, and has been carrying out Distracted Driving Checkpoints since its inception. In doing so, KPSC hopes to raise awareness of the dangers of distracted driving and make local roads safer.