Customers walking through the doors of their neighbourhood auto dealership over the next month may be asked to do more than check out the latest vehicle models.
They will also be encouraged to take a pledge against distracted driving – a dangerous and growing trend responsible for upwards of 4 million vehicle collisions a year in North America alone.
March 1 marks the official start of the 2016 Auto Dealers Against Distracted Driving Campaign across Canada, with 670 auto dealerships currently registered nation-wide to participate.
Throughout the month of March, customers who visit participating dealerships will be asked to make a personal pledge against the fatal behaviour and make a formal commitment to improve road safety by not driving distracted. Pledges from customers and dealership employees can also be submitted online at www.distractionfree.ca. 
“This is our second year participating in the campaign and we're hoping to build off of the great response we saw from our customers last year; our Applewood Kia location in Surrey, B.C. was among the top dealers in the country with 618 individual pledges collected over the course of campaign month,” says Linda Thomas, a campaign champion for Applewood Auto Group.
“It's important we engage directly with our customers because we believe that the act of physically signing your name will encourage a real behavioural change. We hope our campaign will encourage them to think twice before reaching for their phone while behind the wheel.”
LGM Financial Services Inc. instigated the campaign as a platform for Canadian dealers to step up against a growing industry issue; more importantly, to influence consumers directly through their automotive retail point-of-sale.
As a collective force, dealers have the ability to bring more awareness to a form of impaired driving that puts their communities at risk – both drivers and pedestrians alike.
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.
“A total of 433 dealerships registered for our inaugural campaign last year and today, we are already sitting at 670 dealers, which is approximately a 50 per cent increase– and there's potential for that number to grow since dealers can register right up until the end of March,” says Marc-Andre Lefebvre, vice president of sales for the Quebec region at LGM.
“Measuring registered dealers is only one form of engagement; we are also aiming to surpass last year's campaign pledge count of 3,000 and I'm confident we will do that.”
The campaign is supported by Sovereign General Insurance Company and The Co-operators.