ICBC: More drivers admit to using their phone while driving

August 30, 2022


A new Ipsos survey reveals that more B.C. drivers are using their phones to talk or text while they're behind the wheel. Of those surveyed, 43 per cent of drivers admit to using their phone at least once out of every 10 trips – up from 33 per cent in 2019.*

This is despite 73 per cent of respondents who think it's likely they could be caught by police if holding or handling an electronic device while driving.

Distracted driving is a serious concern in B.C., accounting for more than one in four fatal crashes and claiming the lives of 76 British Columbians each year.**

ICBC and police are launching a month-long campaign urging drivers to leave their phone alone while driving. Police across the province are ramping up distracted driving enforcement, and community volunteers are conducting Cell Watch deployments to remind drivers to keep their eyes on the road.

Using electronic devices, like smart phones, is one of the most common and riskiest forms of distracted driving and increases your crash risk by five times. In fact, any activity that reduces your ability to focus on the road or control your vehicle puts yourself and other road users' safety at risk.

Drivers can do their part by avoiding distractions and encouraging others to do the same. It's important to be aware of what's going on around you at all times, even when stopped at a light or in heavy traffic.

ICBC and police conduct two distracted driving education and enhanced enforcement campaigns every year – investing in road safety to help create safer roads for a safer B.C.

You can get more tips and statistics in an infographic​ on


Chief Constable Neil Dubord, Chair of the BC Association of Chiefs of Police Traffic Safety Committee

“To ensure that we're keeping our roadways safe for everyone, education and enforcement activities begin today throughout B.C. as part of our fall distracted driving campaign. These police and community efforts are necessary as distracted driving continues to be one of the most dangerous driving behaviours impacting road safety in B.C. Almost 80 lives are lost each year due to senseless distracted driving crashes, in addition to the many life-altering injuries. One quick peek at your cell phone or electronic device distraction could be the difference between life and death. Please focus on the road when driving and save lives."

Lindsay Matthews, ICBC's Vice-President Customer Experience & Public Affairs

“When you're driving, staying focused on the road should be your top priority. No phone call or text is worth risking the safety of yourself and other road users. Set a positive example for those around you and take a break from your phone when you're behind the wheel – turn it to silent or 'do not disturb' mode and keep it out of reach and out of sight. We all play a role in creating safer roads for everyone."

Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General​

“Any loss of life due to distracted-driving related crashes is unacceptable. There are no excuses for distracted driving, and there is no reason to check your phone, that outweighs the safety and well-being of your fellow British Columbians. Drivers must prioritize safety over convenience when driving. Police across B.C. are supporting ICBC with seeking distracted drivers this month- Leave your phone alone!"

Regional statistics**:      

  • Every year, on average, 25 people are killed in distracted driving-related crashes in the Lower Mainland.

  • Every year, on average, nine people are killed in distracted driving-related crashes on Vancouver Island.

  • Every year, on average, 29 people are killed in distracted driving-related crashes in the Southern Interior.

  • Every year, on average, 14 people are killed in distracted driving-related crashes in the North Central region.

Survey results:*

  • The proportion of drivers saying that they use their phone zero trips out of 10 trips is the lowest since first measured in 2015, and the proportion using their phone one or more times out of 10 is on the rise.

  • Two-in-ten (21 per cent) of drivers think it is highly likely that they would access their device while driving in the next week.

  • Overall, 59 per cent of drivers agree to some extent that it is sometimes 'perfectly safe' to talk on the phone while driving, and 42 per cent agree to some extent that it sometimes 'perfectly safe' to text while driving.

  • Eighty-seven per cent of respondents say they would feel ashamed if people knew that they texted while driving and 86 per cent would feel ashamed to some extent if people knew that they talked on the phone while driving.

  • Within the last month, 21 per cent of B.C. drivers admit to texting while driving and 19 per cent admit to talking on their cell phone without the use of a hands-free device.

*Survey findings from the 2022 spring wave of the Road Safety Tracking Study/B.C. Driver Study. A total of 1,001 interviews were conducted by Ipsos online between April 1 and April 25, 2022. Overall, 96 per cent of B.C. drivers surveyed own or use a cell phone.

**Police data based on a five year average from 2016 to 2020. Distraction: where one or more of the vehicles involved had contributing factors including use of communication/video equipment, driver inattentiveness and driver internal/external distraction.

​Media contact:

Lindsay Wilkins​

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