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Distracted driving

Keep your mind on the road.

Talking, texting or tweeting—we can now communicate with friends and family at any moment, even on the road. But this ability to connect can easily distract us from the task at hand, with sometimes serious consequences.

A 2012 Ipsos Reid survey conducted on behalf of ICBC showed that B.C. drivers consider texting while driving to be just as risky as drinking and driving. They're right.

According to police data (5 year average, 2008-2012), distracted driving is the third leading cause of fatal car crashes in B.C., with an average of 91 deaths per year due to distractions such as using a personal electronic device behind the wheel.

Driving is a complex task that requires your full attention. When you’re distracted behind the wheel your reaction time is significantly reduced. Distracted driving is a common cause of rear-end crashes and injuries—there is no safe following distance when your mind is not on the road.

ICBC's tips for safe mobile phone use:

  1. Check the facts. “Can I text at a stoplight?” “Is using the speakerphone safe?” Review the list of common misconceptions (PDF) about distracted driving to make sure you understand what's legal and safe.
  2. Place calls before you drive. Make any important calls before leaving the parking lot, office or home. Otherwise, wait until you get to your destination.
  3. Set a reminder. Download free ringtones at icbc.com/drivesmart to remind yourself to leave the phone alone when you’re driving.
  4. Pull over to make or receive a call. If you must make or receive a call while in your car, pull over to the side of the road once it is safe. Make sure you’re safely off to the side so you’re not posing a danger to other vehicles.
  5. Take a message. Let your phone pick up your calls and text messages. It’s easy and much safer to retrieve your messages at a later time.
  6. Ask your passengers. If there are passengers in the vehicle, let them make and receive calls and texts for you.
  7. Plan to avoid distraction. Turn your mobile phone off or place it in the trunk of your car so you won’t be tempted to talk, email or text when you’re on the road.

Give your texting habit a 180

The 180 Video contestexternal link encourages young people to get involved in preventing crashes in B.C.—to learn about the issues, harness their creativity and reach their peers to make a difference.

From 2010-2012, we received more than 170 videos from 19 to 25 year-olds in B.C., all aimed at changing their friends' attitudes about dangerous driving behaviours.

Best 60 Seconds, 2nd place: Loop, by Dave Wallace, Victoria.