Reported Prevalence of Saskatchewan People Using Their Cell Phones While Driving is High

A new independent online poll conducted by Insightrix Research suggests more than six in ten Saskatchewan residents claim to see at least one person operating a vehicle and talking or texting on a cell phone every day.

Reported incidence of seeing the activity
More than one third of Saskatchewan residents polled report that they see other drivers using a cell phones or smartphones several times per day (36%). Another 27% say they observe such behaviour at least once or twice per day (totaling 63%). One third (35%) see others using their phones while driving once or twice a week or less often. Only 2% say they never see such behaviour taking place on the road.

Perceived change in frequency over time
While the reported incidence of using a cell phone or smartphone when driving is high, 40% believe such behaviours are happening less often than three years ago. However, 58% feel there has been no change (27%) in driver behaviour with cell phones or that such behaviour is happening more often than it did when the cell phone legislation came into effect in 2010 (31%). A small proportion (2%) is unsure.

Claimed participation in talking while driving – not in hands-free mode
While seeing others operate a vehicle and use their wireless device at the same time is reportedly commonplace, admitting to such behaviour is far less prevalent. Among respondents who have a cell phone or a smartphone, one half (51%) say they never talk on their device in an illegal manner (i.e. not in hands-free mode). One quarter (26%) say they have done so “only a handful of times” in their lives, and 21% admit to doing so on a more regular basis. The remaining 2% preferred not to provide a response.

This contrasts sharply with a similar online poll conducted by Insightrix in September of 2009 before the cell phone legislation came into effect. At that time, more than one half (55%) of Saskatchewan residents reported that they talked on their cell phone without using hands-free mode at least once or twice per month.

Claimed participation in texting while driving – not in hands-free mode
With respect to texting without using hands-free mode while driving, 61% report that they never engage in such activity. The remaining 39% admit to doing so either “a handful of times” in their lives (16%) or more frequently (22%). These findings are very consistent with those of September 2009. Also consistent with the 2009 study, younger drivers (those between the ages of 18 and 34) are far more likely to text while driving than are their older counterparts. Specifically, 30% of younger Saskatchewan residents admit to texting while driving at least once or twice per week, compared to 12% among those aged 35 to 54 years and only 1% among those aged 55 years or more. Further, those of Aboriginal ancestry are more likely to text regularly while driving than are those who are of different ancestry (28% vs. 12%, respectively).

Incidence of fines and knowledge of fine amount
Only one percent of respondents state they have received a ticket or warning from law enforcement for using a wireless device in an illegal manner while driving a vehicle. Knowledge levels of the current fine for talking on a cell phone or texting while driving is also low. Four in ten (42%) say they are unsure of the amount of the fine while more than one third (36%) suggested the penalty fee is less than $260. Only (17%) named an amount within $20 of the correct penalty fee of $280 (i.e. gave answers between $260 and $300). Another 5% believe the fee is more than $300.

Research Details
A total of 802 randomly selected SaskWatch Research™ panel members participated in the online research study from July 16th to 17th, 2013. Quotas were set by age, gender and region to match the general population of the province. As the research is conducted online, it is considered to be a non-probability proportion sample and therefore, margins of error are not applicable.

Past studies referenced in this press release were conducted with 800 randomly-selected SaskWatch Research™ panel members.

About SaskWatch Research™
Insightrix started developing the SaskWatch Research™ online market research panel in October 2007, using high-quality techniques including telephone recruitment and referrals from existing panel members. Presently, there are over 14,000 active panel members representing all regions of the province and distributions of the general population. The panel membership closely matches the 2011 Census based on age, gender, household composition, household income, and education. For more information, please visit http://saskwatch.ca.

About Insightrix
Founded in 2001, Insightrix Research Inc. is a full-service market research firm that helps clients develop, administer and manage data collection and information strategies. From its office in Saskatoon, Insightrix offers a comprehensive range of research services.

For further information contact:
Lang McGilp, Senior Research Executive
Insightrix Research Inc.
Tel: 306.657.5640 Ext. 229
Cell: 306.290.9599
Fax: 306.384.5655
Email: lang.mcgilp@insightrix.com
Web: www.insightrix.com