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​​​​​​​​ICBC and police urge drivers to leave their phone alone

​February 25, 2021​​


A new Ipsos survey reveals that most drivers believe that texting (95 per cent), talking (88 per cent), or even just looking at (80 per cent) your handheld phone while driving is risky, and yet 38 per cent still admit to using their phone at least once in every ten trips.​

Since B.C.'s distracted driving law came into effect in January 2010, more than 455,000 tickets have been issued to drivers for using an electronic device while driving.

More than one in every four fatal crashes on B.C. roads involve distracted driving, which is why police and ICBC continue to educate and enforce this dangerous driving behaviour that claims 78 lives each year.*

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 March, and community volunteers are setting up Cell Watch deployments to remind drivers to leave their phones alone. The campaign also features radio ads, digital advertising and social media.

Any activity that takes away your focus on the road is a distraction, but studies show that using electronic devices, like smart phones, is one of the most common and riskiest forms of distracted driving.

Distracted driving is the second leading contributing factor in traffic fatalities in B.C., behind speeding and ahead of impaired driving, and is the top contributing factor in police-reported injury crashes.

ICBC is dedicated to helping all British Columbians stay safe on the road. For more information, check out tips and statistics on icbc.com.

Quotes:

Superintendent Holly Turton, Vice-Chair of the BC Association of Chiefs of Police Traffic Safety Committee

“Police across the province continue to put a strong focus on removing distracted drivers from our roads to help keep British Columbia's roads safe. When you get behind the wheel, you are responsible for the care and control of that vehicle and the safety of all those around you – that means there is no time for distractions like your cellphone, even when stopped in traffic. Keep your eyes and focus on the road because no distraction is worth the risk of causing preventable serious injuries or deaths."

Lindsay Matthews, ICBC's Vice-President Public Affairs & Driver Licensing

“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."

Regional statistics*:               

  • Every year, on average, 25 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, 13 people are killed in distracted driving-related crashes in the North Central region.

*Police data from 2015 to 2019. 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.