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One in four deaths on B.C. roads involve distracted driving

March 1, 2016

Distracted driving is responsible for approximately one quarter of all fatal crashes in B.C. Most drivers understand that using their phone increases their risk of crashing yet many still do it. That's why ICBC, police and the B.C. government are teaming up to launch a month-long distracted driving campaign in March.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety*, the odds of crashing increase by five times when using your phone, whether dialing, texting, reading or using social media.

Police are ramping up their enforcement of distracted driving across the province. Cell Watch volunteers will be roadside, reminding drivers to leave their phones alone. And ICBC road safety coordinators will be attending community events with a driving simulator the public can try.

You can take a stand against distracted driving and encourage others to do the same by picking up a free decal to display on your vehicle at ICBC driver licensing offices and participating Autoplan broker offices.

The campaign features radio advertising and digital advertising which will appear online as well as in restaurants and bars. You can view an infographic on this month's distracted driving campaign at icbc.com.

Quotes:

Mike Morris, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General

"Distracted driving remains a serious concern and we're committed to taking steps to make our roads safer for everyone," said Mike Morris, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General. "Police across B.C. are doing their part to change behaviours by enforcing the law and we can all do our part by letting every phone call or text wait until we reach our destination."

Todd Stone, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure

"Safety on our highways and in our communities is our top priority," said Todd Stone, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. "You're five times more likely to crash if you're using your phone while driving so leave your phone alone and stay focused on the road."

Chief Constable Neil Dubord, Chair of the B.C. Association of Chiefs of Police Traffic Safety Committee

"B.C. drivers know it's against the law, but far too many still make excuses for their behaviour, and put themselves and others at risk by using their phone while driving," said Chief Constable Neil Dubord, Chair of the B.C. Association of Chiefs of Police Traffic Safety Committee. "That's why we're cracking down on those who cannot police themselves. Even when you're at a red light or in slow moving traffic – you're still in control of a vehicle – and the law still applies."

Lindsay Matthews, ICBC's director responsible for road safety

"Distracted driving puts everyone on the road at risk - it's one of the leading causes of crashes with pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists," said Lindsay Matthews, ICBC's director responsible for road safety. "Ipsos Reid recently conducted a survey for us and found that 34 per cent of cellphone owners said they use their phone between one and five times out of every 10 driving trips. It's time we all commit to leaving our phones alone and avoiding other forms of distraction when we're behind the wheel."

Regional statistics***:

  • Every year, on average, 27 people are killed in distracted driving-related crashes in the Lower Mainland.

  • Every year, on average, 10 people are killed in distracted driving-related crashes on Vancouver Island.

  • Every year, on average, 31 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.

*"The Relevance of Crash Type and Severity When Estimating Crash Risk Using the SHRP2 Naturalistic Driving Data" by David G. Kidd and Anne T. McCartt, November 2015

** Ipsos Reid survey, Distracted Driving, October 2015

***Police data from 2010 to 2014. 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.

Media contact:
Michelle Hargrave
250-979-4642