RCMP and ICBC are warning drivers of the dangers of distracted driving.
“Despite increased awareness and enforcement efforts, many drivers still aren’t getting the message about the dangers of distracted driving,” said NCO BC Highway Patrol Constable Mike Moore. “Every time a driver takes their eyes off the road, they put themselves and others on the road in danger. British Columbia police will be out on the road in every community making sure people leave their phones alone while driving.”
Distracted driving can take the form of looking at your cellphone while driving, but can also include smoking, eating, talking to passengers, reading a book or map, or adjusting the radio.
Across the province, volunteers will be participating in ‘Cell Watch’ to remind drivers to take a break from their phone while driving. The reminder will also be played over the radio, on top of digital advertising.
A single distracted driving ticket can cost $368 plus four driver penalty points ($214) for a total of $582. Drivers with two tickets in a three year period can get as much as $2,000 in fines.
“Safer roads start with each of us making the decision to drive distraction-free. That means putting your phone on do not disturb, programming your GPS before you start driving or leaving your phone in the glove box if you can’t avoid the temptation,” said ICBC’s Vice President Customer Experience & Public Affairs Lindsay Matthews. “By driving with a clear mind and focused attention, you’re helping to keep yourself and everyone around you safe on the road.”
10 people are killed every year on Vancouver Island due to distracted driving crashes, and are a factor in 40% of car crash injuries.