Cracking down on cell phone distracted drivers

One in four deaths on B.C. roads involves distracted driving. Every year, on average, 32 people are killed in the Southern Interior.

  • Sep. 8, 2015 8:00 a.m.

Cell phones stuck to this crashed car serve as visceral reminder to drivers of the dangers of cell phone use while driving.

Update: RCMP in Kelowna continued their crackdown on distracted drivers Wednesday morning. A steady stream of vehicles were pulled over after the driver was observed using a hand-held cell phone. the fine is $167.

Other violators, drivers or passengers, were cited for not not wearing seat belts.

•••

While government reviews B.C.’s distracted driving penalties, ICBC, police and the B.C. government are teaming up to launch a month-long distracted driving campaign across the province.

One in four deaths on B.C. roads involves distracted driving. It’s time we all commit to leaving our phones alone and avoiding other forms of distraction when we’re behind the wheel.

This month, police are ramping up their enforcement of distracted driving across the province.

Distracted driving is the second leading cause of car crash fatalities in B.C. and a leading cause of crashes with pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists.

Cell Watch volunteers will be roadside across the province reminding drivers to leave their phones alone.

ICBC road safety coordinators will also be visiting community events with a driving simulator the public can try.

You can take a stand against distracted driving and encourage others to do the same by picking up a free decal to display on your vehicle at ICBC driver licensing offices and participating Autoplan broker offices.

TELUS is also a supporter of this month’s campaign and has been working with ICBC to help educate drivers about the risks of using a cell phone while driving through its smartphone and Internet safety program, TELUS WISE.

The campaign features new radio advertising, digital advertising which will appear online and in restaurants and bars, and television ads. You can view an infographic on this month’s distracted driving campaign at icbc.com.

“The cost of a distracted driving ticket in B.C. is only $167—the second lowest in Canada—yet the cost of a distracted driving crash can be a person’s life,” said Suzanne Anton, B.C.’s Attorney General and Minister of Justice.

“During our month-long consultation, it was clear the public firmly agrees that our fines are too low. We are going to fix this.

“Over the coming months, we will make our roads safer with tough, fair, and effective sanctions to curtail this alarming but preventable problem.

“If you choose to drive distracted and put others’ lives at risk, police will catch you,” said Staff Sgt. Dale Somerville, of B.C. RCMP Traffic Services. “B.C. drivers know it’s against the law, but far too many still make excuses for their behaviour, then continue to put themselves and others at risk. That’s why we’re cracking down on those who cannot police themselves. Even when you’re at a red light or in slow moving traffic—you’re still in control of a vehicle—and the law still applies.”

Every year, on average, 30 people are killed in distracted driving-related crashes in the Lower Mainland.

 

Regional statistics

Every year, on average, 12 people are killed in distracted driving-related crashes on Vancouver Island.

Every year, on average, 32 people are killed in distracted driving-related crashes in the Southern Interior.

Every year, on average, 15 people are killed in distracted driving-related crashes in the North Central region of B.C.

 

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