Distracted driving penalties increasing
Changes to the Province’s distracted driving penalties are expected this week. The current fine is $167, which is one of the lowest in the country. Distracted driving is one of the most common causes of car accidents. Here are some of the statistics:
- Drivers texting are 23% more likely to be involved in a crash or near crash event compared with non-distracted drivers.
- 80% of collisions and 65% of near crashes have some form of driver inattention as contributing factors
- Distracted drivers are 3 times more likely to be in a crash than attentive drivers
- Driver distraction is a factor in about 4 million motor vehicle crashes in North America each year.
- In 2010 distracted driving was a contributing factor in 104 collision fatalities in British Columbia.
- Distracted driving is the top cause of youth related crashes
ICBC provides the following tips for safe cell phone use:
Leave your phone alone. No call or text is worth risking your life or others. Let calls go to voicemail and ignore your text messages while driving. Remember using a phone at a stop light is still prohibited.
Pull over to make or receive a call. If you have to take a call, pull over if its safe to do so or use your phone in hands-free mode; stay focused on the road and keep the conversation brief.
Plan to avoid distraction. Turn your cell phone off or place it in the trunk of your car so you won’t be tempted to talk, email or text when you’re on the road.
Assign a designated texter. Ask your passengers to make or receive calls and texts for you.
Keep your hands off. Hands free means a Bluetooth or wired headset or speakerphone. If you’re using a headset or headphones, remember that drivers can only wear them in one ear. Motorcyclists however, can use 2 earphones while riding.
New driver? If you have a Learners or Novice licence, you aren’t allowed to use any electronic device behind the wheel, including hands-free headsets or speakerphones.
Law enforcement. Police officers and emergency responders are the only drivers permitted to use mobile devices behind the wheel.
STAY SAFE AND LEAVE THE PHONE ALONE.