Government, ICBC and police tackle distracted driving
September 1, 2016
With tougher penalties now in effect, ICBC, police and the B.C. government are teaming up to launch a month-long campaign to continue to combat distracted driving. Distracted driving is responsible for approximately one quarter of all fatal crashes in B.C.
Police across the province are still seeing drivers using their cellphones, particularly while waiting at an intersection or stuck in traffic. It's one of the biggest misconceptions about distracted driving and a top excuse police hear. This is especially dangerous for pedestrians and cyclists at intersections.
The fact is the law applies whenever you're in control of your vehicle – even when stopped at a light or in bumper-to-bumper traffic. Studies show that drivers who are talking on a cellphone lose about 50 per cent of what is going on around them, visually.
Police are ramping up their enforcement of distracted driving across B.C. Cell Watch volunteers will also be roadside, reminding drivers to leave their phones alone. And ICBC road safety coordinators will be attending community events inviting the public to try a driving simulator to see firsthand how using a cellphone impacts your ability to drive safely.
The campaign features television and radio advertising as well as digital advertising. You can view an infographic on this month's distracted driving campaign at icbc.com.
Mike Morris, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General
"Distracted driving remains a serious concern and we're committed to making our roads safer for everyone," said Mike Morris, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General. "Our new stricter penalties are among the toughest in Canada and police are doing their part to change behaviours by enforcing the law across the province."
Todd Stone, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure
"Safety on our highways and in our communities remains our top priority," said Todd Stone, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. "We're asking drivers to stay focused on the road and resist the temptation to use your phone for calls, texts, social media, maps or music. You're five times more likely to crash if you're using your phone while driving."
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 waiting at an intersection or stuck in traffic, the law is clear – you aren't permitted to use your phone."
Steve Crombie, ICBC's vice-president responsible for road safety
"Insurance rates in B.C. are under incredible pressure from a number of external factors, primarily caused by an increasing number of crashes occurring on our roads – 300,000 crashes, or more than 800 every single day, in 2015 alone," said Steve Crombie, ICBC's vice-president responsible for road safety. "Many of these crashes are caused by high-risk driving behaviours, including distracted driving. It's time we all commit to leaving our phones alone and avoiding other forms of distraction when we're behind the wheel."
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.
*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.