Canada’s national health agency has warned Canadians to stop texting and driving as the number of fatalities has soared.
The Health Canada website said that the average Canadian texting driver killed a pedestrian or cyclist on the road in the first five months of this year was 5.3 times as likely to be male than female.
That is a stark difference from a similar period in 2015 when the average female driver killed someone was 1.8 times as unlikely to be female than male.
The agency said the rise in fatalities has been driven by more than text-sharing and distracted driving.
“The increase in road deaths and injuries due to texting and/or driving is a consequence of the increased use of cell phones and other similar technologies,” the website said.
“It is important to note that this increase is not the result of people texting or driving or other distractions, but the result, instead, of an increase in drivers and drivers of vehicles.”
The department said it has made it a top priority to educate drivers on the dangers of distracted driving, and said it is working to educate the public on the issue.
It said it encourages drivers to look at the road ahead and the road itself, and to be aware of their surroundings, as well as the surroundings of other road users, including pedestrians.
In the past two years, there have been 2,081 fatalities, including 1,716 pedestrians, and more than 13,000 crashes.