ICBC and police ask drivers to leave their phone alone
September 1, 2020
More than one in four fatal crashes on B.C. roads involve distracted driving, which is why police and ICBC continue to combat this dangerous driving behaviour that claims 76 lives each year.*
Since B.C.'s distracted driving law came into effect in January 2010, more than 430,000 infractions have been issued to drivers for using an electronic device while driving. Some drivers didn't get the message the first time, as between January 2010 and March 2020:
44,000 drivers have received two tickets for distracted driving
12,000 have received three tickets
4,200 have received four tickets
65 drivers have received 10 tickets
This month, drivers will be hearing one message – leave your phone alone when you're behind the wheel.
Police across B.C. are ramping up distracted driving enforcement during September, and community volunteers are setting up Cell Watch deployments to remind drivers to leave their phone alone. The campaign also features new digital and radio advertising.
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.
You can get tips and statistics in an infographic at icbc.com.
Chief Constable Neil Dubord, Chair of the BC Association of Chiefs of Police Traffic Safety Committee
"Distracted driving continues to be the number one cause of police-reported crashes in British Columbia. If your eyes aren't on the road, and you are not fully focused on driving, you are distracted. Every second counts when you are behind the wheel, and being distracted for just a second could be the difference between life and death. Police are passionate about making our roads safer, and the distracted driving campaign is an excellent way to educate the community on the risks associated with distracted driving."
Lindsay Matthews, ICBC's Vice-President Public Affairs & Driver Licensing
"Using electronic devices, like smartphones, is one of the most common and riskiest forms of distracted driving. Even short glances away from the road increases your risk of crashing. 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, 26 people are killed in distracted driving-related crashes in the Lower Mainland.
Every year, on average, nine people are killed in distracted driving-related crashes on Vancouver Island.
Every year, on average, 29 people are killed in distracted driving-related crashes in the Southern Interior.
Every year, on average, 12 people are killed in distracted driving-related crashes in the North Central region.
*Police data from 2014 to 2018. 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.