Even if you're not using your phone, you may still be distracted. Any diversion of your attention away from the safe operation of your vehicle, like chatting with passengers, eating or drinking, or adjusting radio or vehicle settings, can contribute to distracted and inattentive driving. We all play a part in making our roads safe – when you're behind the wheel, focus on the road.
If you're looking at your phone, you can't see the road
Checking your phone at a red light may seem harmless, but
the truth is using an electronic device behind the wheel is a dangerous
distraction. Even when stopped, it affects your situational awareness. You’re five times more likely to crash if you’re using your
Take a break from your phone #EyesFwdBC
Resisting the temptation of e-mails, texts, calls, posts and
cat videos can be hard but it can be done similar to being at the movies, at customs,
during takeoff or landing. Think of all the times that you don’t feel like taking
a break from your phone but do!
The cost of distracted driving
If you're caught distracted driving, you'll be ticketed and receive a fine of $368.
Every ticket for distracted driving also adds four driver penalty points to your driving record. If you have four or more points at the end of a 12-month period, you pay a driver penalty point (DPP) premium. These premiums start at $252 and increase for every point you accumulate. You may also have to pay a driver risk premium.
With increased enforcement in communities throughout B.C., multiple infractions can now put a serious dent in your wallet.
Tips for safe cellphone use
- No call, text or email is so important it's worth risking your life or the lives of others. Let calls go to voicemail and ignore your text messages while driving.
- Turn it to silent and keep it out of reach and out of sight or turn on airplane mode to avoid the temptation to check your phone.
- Assign a designated texter. Ask your passengers to make or receive calls and texts for you.
- Pull over to make or receive a call when it's safe to do so. For longer journeys, look for signs at highway rest areas, some of which now provide free Wi-Fi.
- Use the 'Do Not Disturb While Driving' feature on iOS devices, 'In-Traffic Reply' on Samsung phones, or download a similar app to help you avoid using your phone while driving.
Learn the rules of the road
- Don't use your cellphone at a red light. The law applies whenever you're in control of the vehicle, whether stopped at a red light or in bumper-to-bumper traffic.
- Keep your hands off. Hands-free means a Bluetooth, wired headset or speakerphone that can be operated with one touch or voice commands. Make sure to secure the cellphone to the vehicle or attach it on your body before driving.
- If you have a Learner's (L) or Novice (N) licence, you aren't allowed to use any electronic device behind the wheel, for any purpose, even in hands-free mode.
- Make sure you understand the law on how to use electronic devices while driving (RoadSafetyBC)
Show your support
You can help make our streets and communities safer by encouraging others to leave the phone alone behind the wheel. Get a distracted driving sticker and show your support. They are available at participating ICBC Driver Licensing and Autoplan broker offices.
You can also place a bulk order for distracted driving stickers to share in your community.