Canadian race car driver Parker Thompson may help put things in perspective for those thinking about picking up that smartphone while driving. Alberta-born Thompson states that he feels safer driving a race car at full clip than he does driving the speed limit on a public highway because he so often sees people breaking the law.
Remarking at a B.C. high school as part of his Drive To Stay Alive campaign, Thompson said, “I feel safer driving a race car 240 km/h more than I ever would on a British Columbian street … and the reason for that is that all the drivers are really focused and our safety measures and our cars are far more than anything you would find on the street.
“In racing, I know that taking my attention off the track for even a second can have serious consequences, and it’s no different when driving on our roads and highways. By educating a new generation of Albertans about the dangers of distracted driving, we can prevent a lot of collisions before they happen,” he continued.
Most provinces, including Ontario, Alberta and Quebec, have over the last few years increased the fines and demerit points for those caught driving with a mobile device in-hand. The Government of British Columbia recently launched a survey to understand what it should do about drivers that contravene the law, as deterrence through financial penalty hasn’t worked as well as intended. The province banned the use of handheld devices while driving in 2010, with fines of $167 and three demerit points, which are among the lowest in the country.