November 27, 2003

Are you driven to distraction? December 1-7 is National Safe Driving Week

NEWMARKET York Region Health Services joins communities across Canada in promoting National Safe Driving Week from December 1st through 7th. 
Distracted driving is dangerous driving. As a driver, your first priority should be the safe operation of your vehicle.  When you take your attention away from the road, even for a split second, there is a possibility that you may miss or have a delayed reaction to critical events occurring outside of the vehicle.  
Think back to the last time that you drove a car.  At any point on your trip, did you:
use a cell phone, adjust radio stations, switch CDs, light a cigarette, put on makeup or have a lengthy conversation with a passenger?  All of these activities are considered to be significant distractions to driving. 
Distractions such as these are estimated to be the cause of 20-30% of all vehicle collisions*. Of the crashes, a person, vehicle or event outside of the vehicle distracted 29.4% of the drivers, adjusting the radio or CD distracted 11.4%, and passengers distracted 10.9%. More than ever, people are trying to multi-task while driving, with seven out of ten people surveyed admitting to performing personal and work related tasks while driving.
Tips to avoid being a distracted driver:
 Keep your hands on the wheel and eyes on the road:  Avoid talking on cell phones, eating, drinking or smoking while driving.  If you need to make a phone call, make sure you pull over to the side of the road first. 
 Know and be familiar with equipment in your car:  Fumbling with radio and temperature controls can be very distracting.  Make sure you know how to use these functions before you start driving. 
 Avoid emotionally charged conversations: Keep conversations to a minimum with passengers.
 Know where you're going: If you are driving somewhere new, consult a road map before you leave and not while you are driving.
If you would like more information on young drivers, road safety or any other health-related issue, please contact York Region Health Services Health Connection at 1-800-361-5653.
Contact: Wendy Lewis
York Region Corporate Communications Services
905-830-4444 Ext 1238        

* Statistical sources available upon request

The Regional Municipality of York is committed to providing cost-effective, quality services that respond to the needs of our rapidly growing communities.  York Region is comprised of the following nine area municipalities:  Aurora, East Gwillimbury, Georgina, King, Markham, Newmarket, Richmond Hill, Vaughan and Whitchurch-Stouffville.  For more information, visit our Web site at:

Contact: Patrick Casey, Senior Media Relations Specialist, York Region

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