British Columbia

Distracted driving making roads more unsafe, says race car driver

If you’re traveling 100 km/h, you will travel the length of a football field in the time it takes to send a text message (approximately five seconds).

ICBC found 1 in 5 drivers surveyed in 2015 admitted to using a phone while driving

Canadian race car driver Parker Thompson says he feels safer on a track than he does on a regular road. (

Say it takes about five seconds to fire off a one-word text message to a friend. In those five seconds, you could drive the length of an entire football field if you're travelling at 100 km/hr. 

That's why 17-year-old Canadian race car driver Parker Thompson feels safer on a track than he does on a regular road.

Thompson spoke with students at West Vancouver Secondary School and Rockridge Secondary about the dangers of distracted driving on Thursday. 

'I feel safer driving a race car 240 km/h'

As a race car driver, he says even a split second can change his focus while driving, and he feels it's the same case driving on a street, especially since there are more variables such as pedestrians, traffic signals and weather conditions.

Distracted driving is responsible for 28 per cent of all car crash fatalities in B.C.

"One of my dad's best friend's daughter ... she was involved in a distracted driving accident the first day she had her licence, so it was very impactful for me," Thompson told CBC. 

"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."

West Vancouver police Cpl. Jag Johal says while impaired driving remains the number one cause of car crash fatalities in B.C., distracted driving is the second leading cause. 

Although the use of hand-held personal devices while driving has been banned in B.C. since 2010, ICBC found that one in five drivers surveyed in 2015 admitted to using a phone anyway. 

"I could easily hand out 10 tickets in an hour-and-half just for distracted driving," Johal said. "It's really an issue."

Statistics on distracted driving


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