While 83 per cent of Canadian drivers admitted to doing at least one activity other than driving, while driving, Albertans seem to be the worst of the bunch when it comes to multitasking when behind the wheel, according to a recent survey conducted by RATESDOTCA

Ninety per cent of Alberta respondents in the survey admitted to doing at least one other thing than driving, with 58 per cent saying that their distraction takes the form of a ‘digital distraction activity.’ 

From a full list of multi-tasks which included everything from eating or drinking to checking messages when stopping at a traffic light to watching a video on a hand-held device,  77 per cent of Albertans were either sipping on drinks or munching on food while driving, which is slightly higher than the national average of 75 per cent. 

65 per cent of respondents also admitted to either taking a gander at a passenger or talking to their fellow car-mate as another distracted driving behaviour. 

When it comes to anything phone-related, the percentage of us actually grabbing our phones while driving is perhaps surprising. Only 33 per cent of those surveyed said they check messages when stopped at a traffic light, while only 13 percent said they were texting on a hand-held device. 

While the vast majority of those polled did admit to distracted driving, 50 per cent of Albertans, “still think distracted driving is the main cause of threat to road deaths, more than impaired driving.” 

RATESDOTCA also tabulated what distracted driving means for one’s auto insurance premiums. Using rates in Ontario and Alberta, the survey did a comparison. 

“In Ontario, a 30-year-old male driver living in downtown Toronto with a clean driving record saw their $2,526 annual rate increase to $3,119 after committing a distracted driving offence, which marks a 23 per cent increase.” 

However, someone in downtown Calgary, the same driver with a clean record that pays $2,474 annually, would have their lowest rate increase by 18 per cent to $2,929 a year. 

It should be noted that the fine for distracted driving in Alberta includes a $300 fine and three demerit points. 

So if Alberta has some of the worst distracted drivers, whose drivers are the most focused? Apparently, Quebec’s drivers. 

“The province also ranked among the lowest in six out of nine distracted behaviours, particularly when it comes to technology-related actions like taking a video (3 per cent), texting (9 per cent)” 

The survey included a sample of 1,633 Canadian respondents from Leger’s online panel of approximately 400,000 members.