Canadian auto dealers are banding together to help put a stop to distracted driving.
Those participating in the 2017 Auto Dealers Against Distracted Driving Campaign during the month of March will encourage customers to pledge against distracted driving and particularly, texting while driving.
“From my experience, it doesn’t take a lot to make a connection; a quick conversation or a little reminder combined with a bit of passion has the potential to make a real impact for the cause in a short amount of time,” said Linda Leo of West Coast Kia in Pitt Meadows, B.C.
The RCMP says drivers who use hand-held devices are four times more likely to get into crashes serious enough to cause injury. And the CAA says distracted driving is responsible for four million collisions each year in North America.
The campaign aims to educate drivers on the easy and simple solutions to resist the urge to drive distracted, such as pairing to blue tooth and securing potential distractions before starting a trip.
LGM Financial Services started the campaign in 2015.
It says Canadian dealers have a unique opportunity to influence consumers directly through their automotive retail point-of-sale.
“As a collective force, dealers can bring more awareness to a form of impaired driving that puts their communities at risk, LGM said in a statement.
LGM Financial will provide participating dealerships posters, pens, key tags given to customers after service and mirror danglers for cars in the showroom. More information is available at distractionfree.ca.
Besides pledging in person at the dealership, customers are encouraged to make their pledge on Facebook and Twitter, using the hashtag #TakeTheWheel.
Car dealers committed
Auto dealers have already committed to garnering more than 20,000 total pledges from their customers.
“While we continue to see hundreds of dealers participate in the campaign year over year, our focus for 2017 is to provoke increased engagement between dealers and their customers through online pledges,” LGM Vice-President of Sales for Quebec, Marc-Andre Lefebvre, said. “By month end, we hope to surpass our 2017 goal of more than 8,000 pledges [in Quebec], doubling our count from last year’s campaign.”
LGM spokeswoman Amanda Brkich said there are so many bells and whistles in cars that people sometimes need assistance in learning them before they leave the lot. Dealers are encouraged to make sure customers understand how the GPS works and how to activate hands-free calling.
“It’s a way to engage with the dealers we partner with but it was really just a way to deal with something that’s all over the news,” she said of the campaign. “The idea was that dealers have a unique position at the lot to have that conversation about how to drive hands free.”