This is National Road Safety Week

Whether you are a driver, a motorcyclist, a pedestrian, a scooter rider, or a cyclist, distractions on the road is an issue facing all Canadians.

This is National Road Safety Week, kicking off the 2011 safe summer driving season. Vulnerable road users (pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists, etc.) make up approximately 25 per cent of road users killed or seriously injured each year in traffic crashes. In 2008, 559 vulnerable road users were killed and 3,275 were seriously injured.

If you are distracted by a ringing phone or programming your GPS, it becomes harder to react and avoid potential collisions with vulnerable road users. Distracting activities take your eyes off the road and you are more likely to be involved in a collision.

In B.C., the use of all hand-held electronic devices while driving is banned. This law makes it illegal for drivers to talk, text, type, or dial using hand-held cell phones and other hand-held communication and entertainment devices. This includes using GPS, mp3 players (iPods), and entertainment devices with a display screen visible to the driver while he or she is driving. These devices can be used if programmed before starting to drive.

Studies show that a driver using a cell phone is more likely to be involved in a collision than a driver who is focused on the road. Other studies show that dialing and texting carries the highest degree of risk of all cell phone-related activities.

A driver is 23 times more likely to get into a collision if they are texting or typing behind the wheel. Text messaging takes driver’s eyes away from the road for 4.6 seconds over a six-second interval. This compares to driving an entire length of a football field without looking at the road while travelling 90 kilometres per/hour.