distracted-driving-6

Last night on Global BC News a suggestion of tougher penalties for distracted driving was raised, including impounding vehicles.  Global BC gave the following statistics about distracted driving:

  • 1 in 4 deaths on BC roads involve distracted driving
  • distracted driving is the 2nd leading cause of car crashes
  • 81 people killed every year on average due to distracted driving
  • there were 46,300 tickets issued last year for distracted driving

And yet we all still see people on the roads either talking on their phones or texting while they are driving.  Have the new tough penalties done enough to deter drivers from driving distracted?  Or are harsher penalties needed?  Since the tougher penalties were introduced the number of tickets issued by police have decreased each month which could signal a decline in distracted driving, but have they served as a big enough deterrent? If penalties were to increase those increases likely would not occur until next year.

The RCMP reports that distracted driving can lead to:

  • reduced reaction time
  • Impaired judgment
  • Possibly falling asleep behind the wheel
  • Injuring or killing yourself, your passengers and/or other people.

When it comes to distracted driving due to cell phone use, the RCMP report as follows:

  1. Drivers who use hand-held devices are four times more likely to get into crashes serious enough to cause injury
  2. Even when drivers use a hands-free phone, they are less aware of the traffic around them.  They tend to react more slowly to a critical event or worse – they may not detect the danger at all.
  3. A study found that in 80% of collisions, the driver had looked away from the road 3 seconds prior to the crash.

Leave the phone alone.  Safety on our roads is everyone’s responsibility.