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RBC Insurance Calls Canadians Out for Distracted Driving

I’m always wary of “recent studies” (and the press surrounding them) because they really only exist to drive the public relations effort of one company by fueling the press for another. In these cases, everyone but the reader wins. And listen, we’re all lazy when it comes to this stuff, even though we shouldn’t be. When I first read of this RBC insurance study on distracted driving, I knew something wasn’t right. Then it hit me, their apparent conclusion was Canadians are basically assholes.

To sum up this new “study”, 72% of Canadians admit to some form of distracted driving, but 90% of them have noticed others driving while distracted. Cue the sweeping generalizations right? Canadians are quick to pick on others, but won’t fess up about their own distracted driving! What liars! What a bunch of assholes, am I right?

Well, you too may see something wrong with this bit of stupidness. Your first red flag should be the source: On behalf of an insurance company. They clearly want to demonize distracted driving under the guise of “Informing Canadians”. The goal here was probably to be provocative and get people talking, but not too much. Oh, and they wanted to use numbers to tell their story, not expose actual facts. It would be insane not to call distracted driving a serious problem, but this effort to demonize the practice is the wrong sort of public intervention[1].

When you hold these numbers up to even simple scrutiny, none of it bears weight. When a person admits to driving distracted, it’s only them. They only have one person to “catch” driving distracted: themselves. 72% is large in this context and probably shows what Canadians think of themselves and distractions.

When we switch to seeing others driving distracted, the scale is exponentially different. Respondents would probably have had thousands of opportunities to “catch” people driving distracted on a typical commute to work. That’s one day, now multiply that by how many years a person had been driving.  90% should absolutely be 100% and does more to expose Canada’s lack of alertness on the roads! Where’s that study?

But, none of that is the case. These comical, yet fuzzy numbers are meant to make us conclude that we see others driving distracted, while we have no problems doing it. That’s not true in the numbers, or in even the simplest of unscientific of studies.  All this stupid “study” does is call Canadians assholes with bent numbers. That’s the real story. Thanks, RBC Insurance.

Source: [Newswire]

1. That’s a longer article, but we Canadians accept this sort of duplicitous practise at face value. More should be looking at these stupid things with a critical eye.