Police across the province are teaming up with ICBC and the B.C. government to crack down on distracted driving. Stepping up enforcement is needed because of the number of crashes involving drivers distracted by their smartphones.

RCMP cracks down on distracted driving

Volunteers will be out reminding drivers to put the phone away

  • Sep. 13, 2016 9:00 a.m.

Rick StiebelThe Chronicle

Police across the province, ICBC and the B.C. government are teaming up during the month of September in an effort to continue cracking down on distracted driving.

According to ICBC, police across the province are still seeing too many drivers using cellphones, especially while waiting at an intersection. That’s a misconception police hear too often, and it puts pedestrians and cyclists at risk.

Lady Smith RCMP Staff Sgt. Ken Brissard, the officer in charge of the detachment, said stepping up enforcement is a sign of what’s required because of the number of crashes involving distracted drivers.

The hope was the increase to $365 for a first offences as well as the increase in points resulting in significant addition to the cost of license renewal – depending on the number of infractions – would be stronger deterrents.

Although it’s too early to analyze statistics for that period, the increases don’t appear to be having enough impact, Brissard said.

“We have implored people and the statistics are there,” he said. “But too many people still don’t get it.”

It is illegal to use a cellphone when you are in control of a vehicle, whether you’re at a stop light or bogged down in bumper to bumper traffic. Studies confirm that drivers who talk on a cellphone lose half of their awareness of what is going on around them.

The monthlong campaign of increased enforcement will include B.C. Cell Watch volunteers roadside reminding drivers to leave their phones alone. ICBC road safety coordinators will be attending community events and inviting the public to try a driving simulator to underline the impact using a cellphone has on your ability to drive safely.

“Safety on our highways and in our communities remains our top priority,” B.C. Minister for Transportation and Infrastructure said in a media release. “”We’re asking drivers to stay focused on the road and resist the temptation to use your phone for calls, texts, social media, maps or music. You’re five times more likely to crash if you’re using your phone while driving.”

On average, 10 people a year are killed in distracted driving-related crashes on Vancouver Island, according to police data compiled between 2010 and 2014.

 

Just Posted

Poppy funds blossom at Chemainus Health Care Centre

Cowichan Legion Branch 53 makes a valuable contribution

Ladysmith Hill Dash and Running of the Balls return to High street

Ever year Ladysmith residents run High street to support the Ladysmith Resource Centre Association

RCMP urges community to report crimes as theft from vehicles continues

Ladysmith RCMP confirmed a group of teens were seen trying to break into a vehicle on Thetis drive

Nanaimo-Vancouver ferry sets sail again after delay

B.C. Ferries says Queen of Oak Bay was held in dock earlier due to staffing issues

Graveyard shift being axed at Chemainus sawmill

Western Forest Products move comes on the heels of current union contract’s expiration

10 facts about Father’s Day

Did you know that the special day for dads was first celebrated in 1910?

B.C. VIEWS: When farmland protection doesn’t protect farmers

Secondary residences aren’t mansions, families tell Lana Popham

Bombers down B.C. Lions 33-23 in season opener

Former Lion Andrew Harris leads Winnipeg with 148 rushing yards

Northern B.C. family remembers murdered Indigenous woman with memorial walk

Still no closure for Ramona Wilson’s family 25 years later

Monkey spotted on late-night jaunt in Campbell River

Conservation officers also apparently looking for cougar in the area

B.C. university to offer mentorship program for former youth in care

Students using the provincial tuition waiver program will soon be able to form a community at KPU

Cyclists competing in one of the toughest bike races on the planet pass through Fernie

Divide riders looking strong as they finish first leg of 4160 km race

You might not know these B.C. records are public

Hired a lawyer to file a civil claim? Those are published online

B.C. bus driver loses case to get job back after texting while driving full bus

An arbitator ruled that Tim Wesman’s phone usage was a “a reckless disregard for public safety”

Most Read