South Okanagan RCMP adopt clever disguises to catch drivers on their phones - InfoNews

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South Okanagan RCMP adopt clever disguises to catch drivers on their phones

Members of the South Okanagan Traffic Services conducted a distracted driving campaign this past March in which they used several disguises to catch people throughout the South Okanagan.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / RCMP
June 23, 2020 - 11:30 AM

It’s getting harder to escape the long arm of the law when it comes to distracted driving.

RCMP Traffic Services in the South Okanagan utilized some creative methods in March to spot people using electronic devices while driving. The drivers were detected long before they saw a police cruiser or officer in uniform.

Police used a variety of disguises, including officers in civilian clothing where they acted as spotters, radioing ahead to uniformed enforcement teams, according to an RCMP media release issued today, June 23. Traffic officers also incorporated commercial vehicles as elevated platforms to catch offenders.

The blitz on distracted driving took place prior to curtailing enforcement due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The campaign saw more than 200 tickets issued for distracted driving or seatbelt violations in Penticton, Summerland,  Princeton, Keremeos, Osoyoos and Oliver.

Members of the RCMP's South Okanagan Traffic Services conducted a distracted driving campaign this past March in which they used several disguises and vantage points to catch people throughout the South Okanagan.
Members of the RCMP's South Okanagan Traffic Services conducted a distracted driving campaign this past March in which they used several disguises and vantage points to catch people throughout the South Okanagan.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / RCMP

"We could just do enforcement but we would be missing an opportunity to prevent these offences from happening in the first place. To that end, we are raising awareness and actually advertising our tactics in the hopes that drivers with an illegal electronic device habit will change their behaviour,” South Okanagan Traffic Services unit commander Sgt. Ryan McLeod says in the release.

Provincial statistics indicate distracted driving is responsible for 1 in 4 fatal crashes in B.C., claiming 76 lives annually.

The use of handheld electronic devices while driving can result in a $368 fine and four penalty points at $252, for total fine of $620, RCMP say.

"Penalties aside, we are asking drivers to ask themselves one question: ‘Is that text message or phone call worth my life or the life of someone else?'" McLeod says.

"Every driver has choices to make when it comes to driving. Please make it a habit to put your phone in a place where you won't be tempted to use it, use the Do Not Disturb feature, or ask a passenger to take a call for you. It’s never too late to make the right decision,” he says.


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