Police step up enforcement of distracted drivers throughout February
On average 34 people die in the Southern Interior in distracted driving-related crashes. That number increases to 91 when the numbers from the entire province of BC are factored into the equation.
Which is why Nelson Police Department is joining other police in the province in stepping up enforcement on distracted drivers during the month of February.
Drivers using a hand-held electronic device behind the wheel are four times more likely to crash when talking on a hand held phone and 23 times more likely to get in a crash if they text behind the wheel.
“Please think twice when tempted to initiate a call, answer your phone or text during driving,” said Nelson Police Acting Sergeant Brian Weber in a release.
“Please pull over when safe to so or simply wait until you reach your destination prior to using your hand held phone. By working together we can change driver’s attitudes and habits making road travel safer in the process. Please join us at the Nelson Police Department in our campaign to reduce motor vehicle crashes and save lives.”
The message is echoed by the B.C. Attorney General and Minister of Justice.
“A phone call or text can wait for you to reach your destination or find a safe place to pull over,” said Suzanne Anton, Attorney General and Minister of Justice.
“It is simply not worth the risk of causing a crash and causing serious injury or worse to yourself or someone else on the road. Police across B.C. are doing their part to change this dangerous behaviour by ticketing drivers and enforcing the law.”
Police are stepping up enforcement across the province and will be out in full-force checking for distracted drivers throughout February.
Texting behind the wheel takes a driver’s eyes from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds. At 50 km/hour, that is equivalent to driving 64 meters blind – more than the length of a professional-size hockey rink.
The fine for using an electronic device without hands-free while driving is $167.
Holding a cell phone in your hand on speaker phone is also an offence under the Motor Vehicle Act of Using an Electronic Device While Driving and could result in a fine of $167.
Drivers caught texting or emailing may receive 3 Driver Penalty Points (DPP) in addition to the fine.
RCMP Drivers in the Graduated Licensing Program (GLP) are not permitted to use any prescribed electronic device, even if it is hands-free.
GLP drivers will receive the $167 fine and 3 DPP for violating the Distracted Driving Legislation.
“We want drivers to understand that distracted driving is a serious issue and we can all help prevent it,” said Mark Blucher, ICBC’s president and CEO.
“Make a commitment to not use your electronic device behind the wheel and encourage others to do the same to make our roads safer for everyone. Fewer crashes and injuries will also lower claims costs and help keep rates as low as possible.”