The Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) and the Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF) were proud to combine forces once again to coordinate the Driven to Distraction International Conference on Distracted Driving. As two of the leading voices in the road safety community, CAA and TIRF hosted the 2012 event with the goal of offering a platform for leading experts to discuss the latest research on the topic and real world trends.
Interest in this issue has grown exponentially since our 2005 conference, and there has been much coalescence around the importance of this issue and the need for action. As evidence of this, in 2010, two national public opinion polls revealed that public concern about texting and driving in Canada had, for the first time, surpassed concern about drinking and driving.
It is imperative that we now look beyond cell phones to increase recognition of the diversity of distractions that exist, to increase knowledge of strategies to address this issue, and learn from successes and failures from around the world.
In the past five years, research has continued to inform our understanding of the problem, and, more importantly, governments, industry and community groups have mobilized and implemented a variety of educational, prevention and enforcement strategies. Attention to this issue is at an all-time high and provides an important opportunity to take stock of what has been learned from experiences and to leverage the progress achieved nationally and internationally.
The Driven to Distraction Conference brought together international and domestic experts to discuss the latest thinking about distracted driving and examine opportunities to drive changes in social norms and societal perspectives on cell phones and the range of other distractions that pose risks on our roads. The one-day event highlighted current research initiatives from around the world regarding a broad range of distractions, explored lessons learned from legislation and enforcement, and shared experiences drawn from private, public and community approaches to increase awareness and change behaviours.
The high-profile event served as a forum to share knowledge, experiences, and perspectives and identify emerging priorities and attracted participants from across Canada, the United States and Europe. Attendees included a cross-section of international researchers, representatives of government and industry, law enforcement, and community and youth leaders.
In follow up to the conference, the insights gleaned over the one-day conference have been turned into a summary document for distribution. The webcast proceedings from the day have also been posted online for public consumption.