RCMP and Integrated Road Safety Units from across British Columbia have announced that that they have caught over 3,000 people using electronic devices while driving during February’s Distracted Driving Campaign.
“From a policing perspective it is disappointing to see the numbers that high,” explains Superintendent Mike Diack, “E” Division Traffic Services. “Last year, distracted driving was a contributing factor in 104 collision fatalities in B.C.. As police we hope that people realize that their actions can affect those around them and adjust their behavior accordingly, in this case not using handheld devices while behind the wheel.”
Superintendent Diack says that police officers have heard a wide range of excuses from people justifying using hand held electronic devices, primarily phones. These include: “I was just on my way to the mall to buy a blue tooth”, “I was just telling my husband to call back later because I’m driving”, and “I thought I might miss an important call.”
“Whatever people may say there is simply no excuse, except calling for emergency assistance, to be using handheld electronic devices while driving. The excuses won’t mean anything if you are involved in a collision that seriously injures or kills somebody,” says Supt Diack.
Inattentive or distracted driving contributed to an average of 100 fatalities and more than 5,000 injuries on our roadways per year. Police will keep up the enforcement pressure throughout the upcoming summer driving season with the goal of reducing the number of people injured and killed in collisions.
The fine for using an electronic device without hands-free while driving is $167. In addition, drivers may receive three Driver Penalty Points (DPP) if they are caught emailing or texting. Drivers in the Graduated Licensing Program (GLP) are not permitted to use any prescribed electronic device at all, even if it is hands-free. GLP drivers will receive the $167 fine and three DPP for violating the distracted driving legislation.