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Phone companies called on to combat distracted driving

09/30/2014 06:27 EDT | Updated 11/30/2014 05:59 EST
Mobile phone companies are coming under pressure to do more to combat the dangers of texting and driving, which now kills more people on Ontario roads than drinking and driving. 

"Carriers should get on board and be part of the solution, and be part of the solution, right away," said Brian Patterson of the Ontario Safety League.

"The numbers have risen to a point where it's becoming the number one risk on the road."

Last year 78 people died from distracted driving-related crashes on Ontario roads, compared to 57 impaired driving-related deaths and 44 people who died in speed-related crashes, according to the OPP. 

A recent campaign against distracted driving by the injury prevention charity Parachute did not get support from the wireless industry. 

"We have some insurance companies, we have some banks, we have some retail companies," said Parachute president Louise Logan. "Right now we don't have a telecom on board."

The wireless sector says it funded a similar campaign by the RCMP. 

"Currently we're supporting the Leave the Phone Alone campaign of the RCMP which is a national campaign," said Bernard Lord, head of the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association. "We thought it was a good campaign to support."

About 3,000 people have responded to the RCMP campaign. signing an online pledge to drive free of distractions. 

A similar campaign by AT&T in the U.S. drew some five million people pledges. 

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