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ICBC and police launch campaign as distracted driving now third leading cause of car crash fatalities in B.C.

Survey results show B.C. drivers know the risks of distracted driving but aren't hanging up

August 28, 2012

no cellphone

A 2012 Ipsos Reid survey, conducted on behalf of ICBC, reveals that 44 per cent of respondents believe that driving is a complex task and yet 40 per cent of those who own cell phones admit they've used their hand-held phone while driving.

This tells us that while drivers recognize the dangers of distracted driving, and the majority of respondents even consider texting while driving to be just as risky as drinking and driving, many still make excuses or misunderstand what is and isn't allowed under the law. The reality is, distracted driving is now the third leading cause of fatal car crashes in B.C., which is why this year's campaign is focusing on educating drivers and dispelling some of the common misconceptions.

"The ability to connect with anyone at anytime through our mobile phones has led to a serious problem on our roads," said Shirley Bond, Minister of Justice and Attorney General. "Driving is a complex task that requires our full attention. When we're behind the wheel, we have people's lives in our hands and we owe it to our friends and families to leave our phones alone and focus on the road."

Police are stepping up enforcement across the province and will be checking for distracted drivers this weekend and throughout September.

"We see many motorists trying to hide their mobile devices from view by using them from their laps while driving," said Chief Constable Jamie Graham, Chair of the Traffic Safety Committee of the British Columbia Association of Chiefs of Police (BCACP). "We'll be out there this month and if you're distracted, you won't be able to hide it. If you can't seem to avoid the temptation to answer, turn your phone off or put it in the trunk before you start driving."

"Far too often emergency room physicians see the results of those injured in a car crash because a driver was distracted while using a cell phone or other electronic device," said Dr Lloyd Oppel, an emergency physician and Chair of the B.C. Medical Association's Council on Health Promotion. "And the key thing is that these tragedies are completely preventable. Placing lives at risk so that we can enjoy a convenience is simply not worth it."

"We want everyone to keep their attention on the road so they get to where they're going safely," said Donnie Wing, ICBC's senior VP of corporate affairs. "We're encouraging drivers to plan ahead to avoid distraction. ICBC is offering free downloadable ringtones that remind drivers not to respond to calls or texts while driving. If you need to use a mobile device behind the wheel, find out what the most common misconceptions are and talk to your family and friends about them."

As part of this year's distracted driving campaign, six free downloadable ringtones are available at The ringtones are in a variety of genres from country to reggae and help remind drivers to leave their phones alone while driving. ICBC invests in road safety to help change driver behaviour and make our roads safer for everyone.

Read more of the common misconceptions and a fact sheet on ICBC's distracted driving campaign page.

To view the survey results, visit the Ipsos news and polls page.

Media contact:
Kathy Taylor