Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Police and ICBC are cracking down on distracted driving with more severe penalties


Many drivers think that checking their phone, doing their makeup or eating a banana behind the wheel of their car is harmless and they can manage to do it while traversing their daily routes— but those people would be wrong.

According to ICBC, distracted driving is a contributing factor in 40% of collision injuries and causes around 77 deaths per year in BC — 10 of whom are from Vancouver Island. 

As of Monday, March 6th, ICBC and local police departments throughout the province are launching a month-long enforcement and education campaign. 

Police will be keeping a watchful eye on Greater Victorians and all British Columbians and handing out tickets totalling $582 for a first offence. If a driver gets caught a second time within three years of that first ticket, they will be given fines that could be up to $2,000. 

In addition to this, drivers in the graduated licensing program could have their license suspended for 3-8 months if caught on their phone. 

According to the ICBC, police across the province have issued over 140,000 distracted driving tickets to any drivers who are deemed to be using communication or video equipment, being generally inattentive and being internally or externally distracted while behind the wheel of their vehicle.

“Safer roads start with each of us making the decision to drive distraction-free,” says Lindsay Matthews, ICBC’s Vice President Customer Experience & Public Affairs​

“That means putting your phone on do not disturb, programming your GPS before you start driving or leaving your phone in the glove box if you can’t avoid the temptation.”

“By driving with a clear mind and focused attention, you’re helping to keep yourself and everyone around you safe on the road.”​

‘Cell watch’ volunteers will be utilized by police departments throughout BC to remind drivers to take a break from their phone while driving and the ICBC will be spreading awareness and education on local radio stations, through digital outlets and on social media to get their message to as many people as possible. 

Tips for driving safely and phone-free can be found on ICBC’s website.

Curtis Blandy

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