Police targeting distracted drivers in March
February 27, 2015
Today, the B.C. government, ICBC and police launched a month-long distracted driving campaign. While most B.C. drivers are leaving their phones alone, some still aren’t getting the message.
Distracted driving is the second leading cause of car crash fatalities in B.C. with an average of 88 people killed each year. That’s why police across the province are cracking down on distracted drivers in March.
Community policing Cell Watch volunteers will be roadside reminding drivers to leave their phones alone and ICBC road safety coordinators will be visiting community events with a driving simulator that the public can try. Customers can pick up a decal to display on their vehicle at ICBC driver licensing offices and participating Autoplan broker offices to take a stand against distracted driving and encourage others on the road to do the same. The campaign also includes television and radio advertising as well as social media.
At the launch, WorkSafeBC also kicked off the inaugural Road Safety at Work Week, which runs March 2 to 6, and focuses on distracted driving. Crashes are a leading cause of worker fatalities in B.C.
Suzanne Anton, Attorney General and Minister of Justice
“Distracted driving is a significant concern for B.C. road safety – and one to be considered as seriously as impaired driving or excessive speeding,” said Suzanne Anton, Attorney General and Minister of Justice. “Last year, government added three penalty points to the $167 fine for talking on an electronic device, and as we monitor the impact of this action, may consider further sanctions to combat this dangerous driving behaviour. I encourage British Columbians to talk with family, friends and co-workers about the dangers of distracted driving, and the laws in place to keep everyone safe on our roads.”
Scott Hamilton, MLA for Delta North on behalf of Todd Stone, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure
“When you’re distracted behind the wheel, you react slower, and you run the risk of not seeing something incredibly important, such as a child darting out onto the roadway unexpectedly,” said Scott Hamilton, MLA for Delta North. “In fact, you’re four times more likely to crash if you’re using your phone while driving. Leave your phone alone when you’re on the road, pay attention to your surroundings and watch out for pedestrians and cyclists.”
Chief Officer Neil Dubord, Transit Police and Chair of the B.C. Association of Chiefs of Police Traffic Safety Committee
“We’ve seen first-hand the tragic consequences of driving distracted of all types,” said Chief Officer Neil Dubord, Transit Police and Chair of the B.C. Association of Chiefs of Police Traffic Safety Committee. “That’s why police will be cracking down on drivers who are putting themselves and others at risk.”
Lindsay Matthews, ICBC’s director responsible for road safety
“Distracted driving is a growing concern and causes most rear-end crashes in B.C. that result in injuries,” said Lindsay Matthews, ICBC’s director responsible for road safety. “Some drivers still aren’t getting the message – every call, text or tweet can wait. Safer roads and fewer crashes will also help reduce claims costs and insurance rates.”
Mark Ordeman, WorkSafeBC’s industry manager responsible for transportation and road safety
“Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of worker deaths in British Columbia,” said WorkSafeBC’s Mark Ordeman, industry manager responsible for Transportation and Road Safety. “With distracted driving playing a role in so many police reported crashes, we know this danger exists for all drivers, including those who are driving for work. That is why WorkSafeBC is reminding employers that they need to have a distracted driving policy and provide their workers the support they need to follow the policy. When you’re behind the wheel, driving is your only job.”
Every year, on average, 30 people are killed in distracted driving-related crashes in the Lower Mainland.
Every year, on average, 12 people are killed in distracted driving-related crashes on Vancouver Island.
Every year, on average, 32 people are killed in distracted driving-related crashes in the Southern Interior.
Every year, on average, 15 people are killed in distracted driving-related crashes in the North Central region.
*Notes: Police data from 2009 to 2013. Distraction: where one or more of the vehicles involved had contributing factors including use of communication/video equipment, driver inattentive and driver internal/external distraction.