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RCMP looking for distracted drivers this month

Image Credit: RCMP handout
September 01, 2020 - 7:30 PM

Police officers across the province are ramping up their efforts to catch distracted drivers.

B.C. RCMP officers are ramping up enforcement and community volunteers are setting up Cell Watch deployments, according to an ICBC news release.

The message from police and ICBC is simple: leave the phone alone.

More than one in four fatal crashes on B.C. roads involve distracted driving, which is why police and ICBC continue to combat dangerous driving behaviour, ICBC said.

On average, distracted driving claims 76 lives each year. In the Southern Interior, each year on average, 29 die in distracted driving-related crashes.

"If your eyes aren't on the road, and you are not fully focused on driving, you are distracted," Chief Const. Neil Dubord, chair of the B.C. Association of Chiefs of Police Traffic Safety Committee, said in the release.

"Every second counts when you are behind the wheel, and being distracted for just a second could be the difference between life and death," he said. "Police are passionate about making our roads safer, and the distracted driving campaign is an excellent way to educate the community on the risks associated with distracted driving."

More than 430,000 tickets have been issued to those using an electronic device while driving since the B.C. law came into effect in 2010.

Here are what the statistics from January 2010 to March 2020 look like, as supplied by ICBC:

  • 44,000 drivers have received two tickets for distracted driving
  • 12,000 have received three tickets
  • 4,200 have received four tickets
  • 65 drivers have received 10 tickets

"Using electronic devices, like smartphones, is one of the most common and riskiest forms of distracted driving," Lindsay Matthews with public affairs at ICBC said in the release. "Even short glances away from the road increases your risk of crashing."

To avoid distracted driving, ICBC recommends using features like Apple's Do Not Disturb While Driving option or what's similarly available on other devices.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Carli Berry or call 250-864-7494 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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