Distracted driving remains top priority for ICBC, police and government
September 4, 2019
Distracted driving is responsible for more than one in four fatal crashes on B.C. roads, which is why ICBC, police and government continue to combat this dangerous driving behaviour that claims 77 lives each year.*
Crashes reached a record high in 2017, with many of these caused by distracted or inattentive driving. While cellphone usage rightly gets a lot of the attention, distracted driving includes any activity that impacts your ability to focus on the road while in control of a vehicle.
The B.C. government, police and ICBC conduct two distracted driving education and enhanced enforcement campaigns every year. The campaigns also include advertising and social media support.
This month, drivers will be hearing one message – take a break from your phone when you're behind the wheel. Research shows that taking your eyes off the road for as little as two seconds is strongly correlated with crashing.
Enhanced police enforcement of distracted driving will take place across B.C., including a province-wide blitz on Friday, and community volunteers are setting up Cell Watch deployments to remind drivers to leave their phone alone when driving.
Drivers can do their part by avoiding distractions while driving and encouraging others to do the same. Activate Apple's Do Not Disturb While Driving feature or what's similarly available on other devices. Free 'not while driving' decals are available at ICBC driver licensing offices and participating Autoplan broker offices for drivers to support the campaign and encourage other road users to leave their phones alone.
As part of the commitment to make roads safer, ICBC is currently inviting eligible drivers to participate in a telematics pilot project. The goal is to determine whether using this technology can improve road safety and driving behaviour for inexperienced drivers in B.C.
You can view tips and statistics in an infographic at icbc.com, and register for the pilot project at icbc.com/techpilot.
Chief Constable Neil Dubord, Chair of the BC Association of Chiefs of Police Traffic Safety Committee
"Distracted driving is the number one cause of serious crashes in our province and it continues to be a growing safety concern. To combat this problem, police will be out on the road – in every community – making sure people leave their phones alone while driving."
Lindsay Matthews, ICBC's Vice-President Public Affairs
"Our telematics pilot project will help us better understand the role that technology can play in reducing distraction and preventing crashes for inexperienced drivers. But safer roads start with every driver making a conscious decision to focus on the road and leave their phones alone. Let's all do our part to create a safer driving culture in B.C."
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, 28 people are killed in distracted driving-related crashes in the Southern Interior.
Every year, on average, 13 people are killed in distracted driving-related crashes in the North Central region.
*Police data from 2013 to 2017. 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.
Editor's note: Interviews and photo/video opportunities of enforcement in Vancouver today. Please contact ICBC for details.