Educating young drivers about the risks of distracted driving

Getting a driver’s licence can be an exciting experience for a young person: it often provides a new-found sense of freedom. But a licence also comes with some serious responsibilities—and risks. Motor-vehicle collisions are the second leading cause of death among young people in Canada. And being distracted while behind the wheel is too often a factor in those deaths.

That’s why Parachute, Canada’s national charity dedicated to injury prevention, is trying to convince young drivers to keep their eyes on the road—and off their phones. As part of this year’s National Teen Driver Safety Week campaign (October 16 to 22) Parachute’s message is clear: “#DrivingTakes100 – 100 per cent of your attention.”

“In fatal crashes, drivers aged 20 to 25 were more likely to be distracted than all other age groups, followed by drivers aged 16 to 19,” explains Pamela Fuselli, Parachute’s President and CEO. “National Teen Driver Safety Week is a way to help put a stop to these preventable deaths by bringing awareness to the serious issue of distracted driving among teens and young adults.”
Using your phone while driving could cost you
There’s no question that in today’s connected world, we rely on our cell phones—and most of us have trouble putting them down. But drivers who text while behind the wheel are up to six times more likely to be involved in a crash. It can be particularly dangerous when driving near railway tracks.

In June 2014, 18-year-old Laura Tardif was killed when the car she was driving was hit by a train at a railway crossing in L’Isle-Verte, Que. Laura didn’t see the train coming because she was using her cell phone to text a friend. Laura’s tragic story is the subject of a new video produced as part of Operation  Lifesaver’s #STOPTrackTragedies campaign.
Helping to reach teens with the safety message

The aim of National Teen Driver Safety Week is to prevent tragedies like Laura’s. So, whether you’re a young driver yourself, or have a young person in your life, have a conversation about how to stay safe behind the wheel. And if you’re an adult, make sure you lead by example: teens are more likely to text and drive if they see the adults in their life do it—so put the phone down when you’re behind the wheel. 
From October 16 to 22, you can also help Parachute to spread the safety message on social media, using the hashtags #NTDSW2022, and #DrivingTakes100. By working together, we can reduce the number of young people dying on Canadian roads.