TELUS Corporation
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TELUS Corporation

December 01, 2014 07:05 ET

National Survey Finds More Than One-Third of All Drivers Admit to Breaking Distracted Driving Laws Within the Last Week

Vast majority of passengers uncomfortable with drivers using smartphones, yet many don't speak up

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Dec. 1, 2014) - (TSX:T)(NYSE:TU) - A new TELUS survey has found that 36 per cent of Canadian drivers admitted to illegally using their smartphones while driving. The survey also found that while 70 per cent of Canadian passengers are uncomfortable with drivers using their smartphone behind the wheel, nearly a quarter of them don't speak up. This National Safe Driving Week (December 1-7), TELUS is launching the "Thumbs Up. Phones Down." campaign to increase awareness of distracted driving and encourage Canadian drivers to focus on the road while they are behind the wheel.

The Ontario Provincial Police report that within its jurisdictions, the number of distracted driving-related fatalities in 2013 surpassed the number of impaired-related and speed-related fatalities respectively. It is also the second-leading cause of car crashes in B.C. (ICBC). The survey, conducted by TELUS via Google Insights, provided additional data around Canadians' distracted driving behaviour:

More than one third of drivers are violating distracted driving laws

  • In the past week, 36 per cent of respondents acknowledged using their smartphones while driving, including making non-hands-free calls, checking texts and reading emails. In addition, 10 per cent had taken a photo or shot a video.

We say we get it, but…do we?

  • Most Canadians understand that using a smartphone while driving is unsafe. When asked to describe the behaviour, 48 per cent said it was "bad," "stupid" and "wrong." Surprisingly, just 27 per cent said it is illegal (distracted driving is illegal in all provinces and territories, except Nunavut) and only 18 per cent said that it is "dangerous," "unsafe" or "distracting."

We feel like we have to

  • Among respondents, 49 per cent said they feel obligated to address a call, message or text as it comes in while they're driving.
  • Two out of five Canadians can't make it through their average commute (25.4 minutes, according to Stats Canada) without responding to a call, text or message, while 37 per cent of respondents said they would send a text to their boss while driving and 32 per cent would do the same for their friends.

Our passengers don't like it, but many don't speak up

  • As passengers, 70 per cent of Canadians believe using a smartphone while driving is unsafe and that the act makes them uncomfortable, but 24 per cent of people in a car with a driver on their smartphone didn't voice their concern.

Quebecers buck the trends

  • Nationally, only three out of four passengers who felt uncomfortable with a driver's use of a smartphone spoke up about it. In Quebec, everyone who felt uncomfortable said something.
  • Quebecers are also less likely to feel obligated to connect with their boss while driving; only 27 per cent would send their boss a text from behind the wheel, compared to 37 per cent nationally.

"Distracted driving laws exist to protect all Canadians and while mobile devices have changed our lives for the better, we must recognize and respect that driving requires 100 per cent of our focus," says Brent Johnston, senior vice president, Consumer Marketing at TELUS. "As a leading national wireless carrier, TELUS has a responsibility to address distracted driving head-on by educating Canadian drivers to make smart and safe decisions and encouraging passengers to speak up. Our 'Thumbs Up. Phones Down.' campaign will do just that by creating a social movement that promotes and celebrates safe driving."

TELUS is inviting all Canadians to join the "Thumbs Up. Phones Down." movement by not using their smartphones while driving. The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (C.A.C.P.) supports TELUS' work against distracted driving, including its smartphone safety education provided through the TELUS WISE program.

"Distracted driving is a huge issue here in Canada and we see a significant gap between understanding the risks and actually changing their behaviour," says Denis Boucher, Superintendent and co-chair of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police Traffic Safety Committee and Officer in Charge of the B.C. RCMP Traffic Services. "TELUS' work through campaigns such as "Thumbs Up. Phones Down." and education through TELUS WISE is playing an important role in helping us tackle this issue and encouraging Canadians to actually make a change."

To help Canadians combat this issue themselves, TELUS has developed the following tips:

  • Before you start driving, put your device on silent, or keep it somewhere where you can't see or hear it, such as your bag, glove compartment or the backseat.
  • If you can't wait until the end of your trip, find a spot to safely pull over and put your car in park first before making a call or responding to a message.
  • If you're waiting on an important message or call ask a passenger to read it out loud or take it for you so you can keep your eyes on the road.
  • If you're a passenger, speak up. Using a smartphone while driving isn't only against the law, it could be a matter of life or death.

To learn more about the risks associated with distracted driving and tips on how to stay safe on the road, visit telus.com/wise. You can also join the conversation and help promote safe driving online using #ThumbsUpPhonesDown.

About TELUS

TELUS (TSX:T)(NYSE:TU) is Canada's fastest-growing national telecommunications company, with $11.8 billion of annual revenue and 13.5 million customer connections, including 8.0 million wireless subscribers, 3.2 million wireline network access lines, 1.45 million Internet subscribers and 888,000 TELUS TV customers. TELUS provides a wide range of communications products and services, including wireless, data, Internet protocol (IP), voice, television, entertainment and video, and is Canada's largest healthcare IT provider.

In support of our philosophy to give where we live, TELUS, our team members and retirees have contributed more than $350 million to charitable and not-for-profit organizations and volunteered 5.4 million hours of service to local communities since 2000. Created in 2005 by Executive Chairman Darren Entwistle, TELUS' 11 community boards across Canada have led the company's support of grassroots charities and will have contributed $47 million in support of 3,700 local charities organizations by the end of 2014, enriching the lives of more than two million Canadian children and youth. TELUS was honoured to be named the most outstanding philanthropic corporation globally for 2010 by the Association of Fundraising Professionals, becoming the first Canadian company to receive this prestigious international recognition.

For more information about TELUS, please visit telus.com.

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