South Okanagan RCMP wearing disguises to catch distracted drivers

South Okanagan RCMP wearing disguises to catch distracted drivers

Distracted drivers can expect to be detected long before they ever see a police car

RCMP in the South Okanagan are getting creative in an attempt to catch distracted drivers.

Officers acting as spotters are now dressing in civilian clothing, construction uniforms, and more, and radioing ahead to let uniformed officers know of an incoming distracted driver. Traffic officers are also using commercial vehicles, like transport buses, as elevated platforms to catch those using devices while driving.

Distracted drivers can expect to be detected long before they ever see a police car or an officer in uniform, RCMP explained in a release Tuesday.

“We could just do enforcement but we would be missing an opportunity to prevent these offences from happening in the first place. To that end, we are raising awareness and actually advertising our tactics in the hopes that drivers with an illegal electronic device habit will change their behaviour,” said Sgt. Ryan McLeod, Unit Commander of South Okanagan Traffic Services (SOTS)

“Penalties aside, we are asking drivers to ask themselves one question: ‘Is that text message or phone call worth my life or the life of someone else?’”

READ MORE: Above average rainfall in Okanagan-Shuswap a positive for fire season: Environment Canada

This comes after a distracted driving enforcement blitz, across the South Okanagan in March, saw over 200 tickets issued in the communities of Penticton, Summerland, Princeton, Keremeos, Osoyoos and Oliver.

The use of hand-held electronic devices while driving, RCMP explained, has been banned in B.C. since 2010. A ticket for distracted driving involves a $368 fine and four penalty points ($252) for a total penalty of $620.

RCMP say distracted driving is responsible for more than one in four fatal crashes in B.C., and claims 76 lives each year. Studies show that drivers using their electronic devices lose sight of about 50 per cent of what is going on around them visually, and are five times more likely to crash.

The traffic authority encouraged drivers “not to play the guessing game” only to learn that the person they thought was a construction worker, pedestrian or bus passenger, was actually a police officer in disguise.

“Please make it your habit to ignore your electronic devices when driving and wear your seatbelt – it could save your life,” said the RCMP.

READ MORE: International students, B.C. homestay families learn to live together during the pandemic

READ MORE: Okanagan singer’s country hit goes viral

@PentictonNews
editor@pentictonwesternnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

RCMP

Just Posted

Craft Culture Events hosts its first of four summer markets at Prospera Place in Kelowna (Craft Culture Events/Contributed).
Kelowna’s Prospera Place summer market a success

Craft Culture Events hosts its first of four summer markets and vendors were ‘excited’ to be back

Lightning in Kelowna, B.C. (Contributed)
Severe thunderstorm watch in effect for Okanagan

Conditions are favourable for the development of severe thunderstorms overnight

(Dave Ogilvie/Contributed)
UPDATE: West Kelowna fire crews rescue injured mountain biker

The injury took place at the top of Smith Creek Road

Kelowna flags were flown at half-mast after the discovery of a residential school burial site in Kamloops. (File photo)
Central Okanagan school board chair reflects on recent tragedies

Moyra Baxter offers condolenses to residential school victims, slain Muslim family

The RCMP presence in Central Okanagan public schools is being reviewed by the board of education. (File photo)
RCMP presence welcomed in Central Okanagan public schools

Staff survey feedback overwhelmingly positive from students, staff and parents

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Jane Linden
KCR: Volunteering keeps you active

Kelowna Community Resources shares stories of its volunteers in a weekly column

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Longtime SOWINS volunteer Diane Fru (far left) walks with members of her family as they Walk To End Abuse Sunday, June 13, 2021. South Okanagan Women In Needs Society (SOWINS) raised a record amount this year. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Walk to End Abuse in South Okanagan breaks fundraising record

More than $53,000 raised so far while the pandemic has increased need for SOWINS’ services

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

Most Read