Photo shows a teen-aged boy in a grey t-shirt in the driver's seat of a car with his left hand on the wheel holding a smartphone in his right hand. Her is accompanied by a girl in a blue top in the passenger's seat. Both are concentrating on the smartphone.

A new survey shows that almost half of Grade 12 students in Ontario have texted while driving.
Photo Credit: CBC

Survey shows alarming trend in teenage driving habits


Everybody, please note. “Texting While Driving” is not the name of an up-and-coming rock group.

Rather, it is a phenomenon that–to say the least–appears to be very widespread in Canada among young people.

How widespread?

According to the 2013 Ontario Student Drug Use and Health Survey, a biannual study conducted for the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, more than one-third of all licensed drivers in Grades 10-to-12 in Ontario admit to having texted while driving.

That percentage increases to 46 per cent of licensed students in Grade 12.

A bit of perspective may be needed here.

riving while texting is proving extremely dangerous. Photo shows a closeup of a smartphone in a driver's right hand with his left hand on the wheel. A red pickup truck is shown speeding by his front window.
Driving while texting is proving extremely dangerous. © AP File Photo/Pat Wellenbach

A Harvard Center for Risk analysis found that texting in cars and trucks causes over 3,000 deaths and 330,000 injuries a year in the United States.

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has found that driving a vehicle while texting is six times more dangerous than driving while intoxicated

The federal agency reports that sending or receiving a text takes a driver’s eyes from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds, the equivalent — when traveling at 55 mph — of driving the length of an entire football field while blindfolded.

Fortunately, the problem has not escaped the politicians, at least in Ontario.

After the results of the survey were released this week, Premier Kathleen Wynne said her recently re-elected government will bring back legislation that would toughen penalties and add demerit points for distracted driving.

The premier pointed out there are now more deaths as a result of texting while driving than drunk driving.

The previous bill — which would impose three demerit points in addition to increasing the maximum fine for distracted driving to $1,000–died when the June 12th election was called.

For some perspective on the survey, RCI’s Terry Haig spoke by phone with Dr. Robert Mann at his office in Toronto. He is a senior scientist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto.

Categories: Health, Internet, Science and Technology, Politics, Society

Do you want to report an error or a typo? Click here!

@*@ Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 characters available

Note: By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that Radio Canada International has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Radio Canada International does not endorse any of the views posted. Your comments will be pre-moderated and published if they meet netiquette guidelines.

Netiquette »

When you express your personal opinion in an online forum, you must be as courteous as if you were speaking with someone face-to-face. Insults and personal attacks will not be tolerated. To disagree with an opinion, an idea or an event is one thing, but to show disrespect for other people is quite another. Great minds don’t always think alike—and that’s precisely what makes online dialogue so interesting and valuable.

Netiquette is the set of rules of conduct governing how you should behave when communicating via the Internet. Before you post a message to a blog or forum, it’s important to read and understand these rules. Otherwise, you may be banned from posting.

  1.’s online forums are not anonymous. Users must register, and give their full name and place of residence, which are displayed alongside each of their comments. reserves the right not to publish comments if there is any doubt as to the identity of their author.
  2. Assuming the identity of another person with intent to mislead or cause harm is a serious infraction that may result in the offender being banned.
  3.’s online forums are open to everyone, without regard to age, ethnic origin, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
  4. Comments that are defamatory, hateful, racist, xenophobic, sexist, or that disparage an ethnic origin, religious affiliation or age group will not be published.
  5. In online speak, writing in ALL CAPS is considered yelling, and may be interpreted as aggressive behaviour, which is unpleasant for the people reading. Any message containing one or more words in all caps (except for initialisms and acronyms) will be rejected, as will any message containing one or more words in bold, italic or underlined characters.
  6. Use of vulgar, obscene or objectionable language is prohibited. Forums are public places and your comments could offend some users. People who use inappropriate language will be banned.
  7. Mutual respect is essential among users. Insulting, threatening or harassing another user is prohibited. You can express your disagreement with an idea without attacking anyone.
  8. Exchanging arguments and opposing views is a key component of healthy debate, but it should not turn into a dialogue or private discussion between two users who address each other without regard for the other participants. Messages of this type will not be posted.
  9. Radio Canada International publishes contents in five languages. The language used in the forums has to be the same as the contents we publish. The usage of other languages, with the exception of some words, is forbidden. Messages that are off-topic will not be published.
  10. Making repetitive posts disrupts the flow of discussions and will not be tolerated.
  11. Adding images or any other type of file to comments is forbidden. Including hyperlinks to other websites is allowed, as long as they comply with netiquette. Radio Canada International  is in no way responsible for the content of such sites, however.
  12. Copying and pasting text written by someone else, even if you credit the author, is unacceptable if that text makes up the majority of your comment.
  13. Posting any type of advertising or call to action, in any form, to Radio Canada International  forums is prohibited.
  14. All comments and other types of content are moderated before publication. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to refuse any comment for publication.
  15. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to close a forum at any time, without notice.
  16. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to amend this code of conduct (netiquette) at any time, without notice.
  17. By participating in its online forums, you allow Radio Canada International to publish your comments on the web for an indefinite time. This also implies that these messages will be indexed by Internet search engines.
  18. Radio Canada International has no obligation to remove your messages from the web if one day you request it. We invite you to carefully consider your comments and the consequences of their posting.


One comment on “Survey shows alarming trend in teenage driving habits
  1. Avatar Peter Ashcroft says:

    Play safe – texting signal should automatically switch off the car’s ignition for at least a minute following the end of the text message – no matter who is texting from the car – driver or passenger. Safety first comes first!