Distracted Driving Campaign Underway
Prince George, B.C.- With the start of a new month, it has been announced that police are once again watching for distracted drivers.
As reported last week, ( see previous story) the campaign, will last the full month of September.
While it’s not uncommon for regular drivers to spot others who are using electronic devices while behind the wheel, somehow, those same people who are violating the law, seem to be on their best behaviour whenever a police cruiser is around.
Solicitor General Mike Morris says police also rely on information from the public to help nab violators “There’s a lot of assistance coming from other drivers on the road, or people on sidewalks who take pictures of people driving and using cell phones as they drive by . There’s a combination of things that will help out here.”
Minister Morris says typically it will be a “tag team” type of operation for officers “They will use whatever tools that are available to them. I have seen some detachments where they have some body in a strategic location taking pictures or watching traffic, and identifying violators to officers located further down the road. That kind of activity will continue.”
Distracted driving is a leading cause of crashes in B.C. According to statistics from ICBC, on average, 81 people in B.C. will die in a crash where distracted driving was a contributing factor. While there are some who argue the stats are skewed and may include distractions other than cell phone use, Solicitor General Morris disagrees “There’s information officers attending a crash scene look for. Somebody eating a sandwich or they have a dog on their lap is driving without due care and attention. Distracted driving is when they are actually using an electronic device, so there’s a crash there’s a phone nearby and officers can see someone was using that phone when the crash occurred, so a lot of that is verified with the devices that are in the vehicle or in the possession of the driver at the time. So it can be ascertained that it was distracted driving involving electronics at the time of the crash.”
The fine for distracted driving is $368 and four penalty points.
Minister Morris says the message remains the same, leave the phone alone, “Nothing is so important that you have to answer a call, look at your cell phone or use an electronic device while you’re driving, period.”
Distracted driving shoyld be as strict as driving while impaired!!! 24 hour, licence suspensions….and so on!
I was in PG Friday and Saturday. Every other stop light I stopped at, I saw someone on their phone. I did not see one officer at any intersection enforcing the law. A 368 dollar fine and a 7 day suspension along with the tow and impound fees would deter people IMO. I know this sounds terrible but when I see people texting and driving, I want to run them off the road.
you need to add a 1 to the front of that fine as a minimum, prefer to see a 0 at the end…that would get their attention, maybe.
Holly Cwap, after reading this article a couple of times, I came to the realization that MLA Mike Morris still thinks he’s a cop!
Perhaps someone from RCMP communication / public relations division should be making this distracted driving campaign announcement and not a politician? We do pay for both don’t we?
that is the job of the solicitor general, regardless if it is Morris or someone else.
You are 100% correct! Mr. Morris is the perfect person for the job! His experience in law enforcement is a valuable bonus!
I think we’re very fortunate to have a retired Superintendent for a Solicitor General, with his experience I’m hoping he’ll be able to convince naive politicians that we need a heck of a lot larger budget to curtail organized crime, and bolster traffic section with a few more bodies to curtail cellphonitis.
And, he is the top cop of the province.
That’s it Griz, lets follow the good ole USA who has the largest per-capita prison population in the world, yet still has the highest crime rates. However, please don’t let this evidence, and that fact, sway you from your ideological beliefs.
JGalt, I’m laughing. I wonder why………
His full title is: Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General.
He is the “big boss” and happens to live here. I doubt he took the initiative to contact 250NEWS. It is much more likely that 250NEWS contacted him since he was local rather than from North Van.
Think a little about how these things work on occasion.
I never knew eating a sandwich while driving is driving without due care and attention. Good to know. Does anyone know if it includes coffee and donuts too?
it could if you are paying more attention to the coffee and donut than driving.
Oh, oh, me thinks your last question just made a lot of RCMP members nervous.
It is distracted driving in some provinces and states but here can only be classified under a different Act on the MVA. Same as doing your hair or putting on makeup, etc
From the Edmonton police
“Drivers are allowed to use hands-free mobile devices that are activated by a single touch or voice activated, eat a snack, drink a beverage, smoke, or talk with a passenger while driving.”
From the Ontario Transportation Ministry
“While the eating scenario you describe would not lead to a charge under the distracted driving law, it could lead a police officer, at his or her discretion, to charge the driver with careless or even dangerous driving.”
The RCMP web site which deals with distracted driving is ambivalent. It says one thing in one location and another in another.
I’ll go with this one:
“Eating and Drinking – It’s best to avoid eating and drinking while driving. If you need to take a drink, wait until you are stopped at a red light.”
Kind of difficult to do on provincial highways.
Again I will ask, what about the members who are reading and typing on their laptops while driving? I see it all the time. That is distracted driving, do not give me some crap answer that they are trained …. they are not. There is no training for anyone who wants to type and read while driving. Be it a cell phone or notepad or laptop. Another example of do what I say, not as I do. Same rules any when I see them talking on their cell phones in their cars. I’m pretty sure the new iphone6 or iPhone or Samsung device is not an official rcmp device that is as they say part of operations and part of the job.
You make a valid point pgisalwayshome. The RCMP should be setting an example for the rest of us, if they need to use their computers (laptops), they should pullover.
I am wondering if this distracted driving by the police has ever caused a accident? the cops have been using PCs and radios for a very long time.. did a search and couldnt find any info on any accidents involving cops and distracted driving..
Case in point, last year or the year before? Lady constable slams in to BC Hydro pole on 1st Ave, no others involved. Never did hear what really happened there.
A year or two ago in Surrey a pedestrian was hit and killed by a cop using a laptop while driving.
They are allowed, as are emergency personnel like paramedics and fire fighters.
Slinky, good response.
Place yourself in the drivers seat of a police officer going to a complaint. This could be a domestic dispute where someone is getting the crap beat out of them, it could be a child that’s lost, it could be a bank robbery. They are receiving intelligence en route updating where a person was last seen, what vehicle to look out for, whether the guy beating his wife has a weapon.
We just don’t know. Fire and Paramedics, same thing. I could care less if they’re using their tools to make it safer for them and others. Some people are as naive as some politicians.
you have the right to lodge a complaint.
The watch commander is the person to talk to.
Have all your facts, date, time, location and the car number before calling.
I love all the responses. Distracted driving is distracted driving, it does not matter who is doing it. Basically most of your comments are saying it’s OK to be distracted as a first responder but no one else. If it’s not a first responder throw the book at them. Bcracer been there done that, guess what happens? Nothing, absolutely nothing. For fun try this, as if a police car is doing 70 in a 50 zone and you match their speed because they are doing it. You get pulled over for speeding, when approached you state they were speeding as well. They reply, we’ll I was going to a call. Oh were you, yet you had time to pull me over but no time to do the speed limit. Correct me if I am wrong, but the law clearly states police, fire, ambulance etc can break road laws when going good with lights amd sirens only. So , why were you speeding going to a call, while breaking laws, and still having time to pull me over for doing exactly what you were doing?
I’m glad they have the ability to get to calls fast, as long as they follow the laws they enforce. When they stop, why should we be expected to fall in line. They should lead by example, that’s all I’m saying.
pgisalwayshome “as long as they follow the laws they enforce.”
Section 214 of the Motor Vehicle Act in BC is the distracted driving law, If you get a ticket for talking on your cell phone the offense will be 214(2)
Prohibition against use of electronic device while driving
214.2 (1) A person must not use an electronic device while driving or operating a motor vehicle on a highway.
Exceptions to prohibition — emergency personnel
214.3 Section 214.2 does not apply to the following persons who use an electronic device while carrying out their powers, duties or functions:
(a) a peace officer;
(b) a person driving or operating an ambulance as defined in the Emergency Health Services Act ;
(c) fire services personnel as defined in the Fire Services Act.
Exceptions to prohibition — certain permitted activities
214.4 Section 214.2 does not apply to a person who uses an electronic device
(a) while operating a motor vehicle that is safely parked off the roadway or lawfully parked on the roadway and is not impeding traffic,
(b) to call or send a message to a police force, fire department or ambulance service about an emergency, or
(c) that is configured and equipped to allow hands-free use in a telephone function, is used in a hands-free manner and is used in accordance with the regulations, if any.
$2000 fine and cell destroyed. Next infraction $5000, cell destroyed and loss of liscense for a month.
My life and everyone else’s is worth more than what ever you are texting about. It’s very easy to find a spot to park and text away till you can leave the phone alone till you arrive at your destination. We all survived without these umbilical cords for centuries….
I wish they would add distracted walking to their campaign.
I was driving on O’Grady Road, coming up to the intersection just past Home Depot, with the green light in my favor, and a young person who had her head down texting, starting walking into the intersection.
I had to slam on the brakes and lay on my horn just to get her attention. She flinched slightly, and looked behind her, thinking there was a vehicle turning, not realizing I was coming straight towards her. She barely missed a beat or a key-stroke!
Drivers have enough to watch for with distracted fellow drivers, we don’t need distracted walkers as well.
And then there is the local road rage guy that drives the brown trucks busy making dashcam videos rather than focusing on his own driving.
Here he is full throttle from a stop sign into Peden Hill doing 27km over the speed limit as he tailgates a car and calls them the a-hole… and then posts it on YouTube.
Or people that don’t get out of his way for a merge… Even though highway traffic has the right of way.
Seems everyone gives him the finger as he tries to get that ‘awesome video’ that will send someone to the obits for getting in his way or possibly driving with bright lights.
Yes, i say let the cops do their job. I don’t care if they are getting crucial data as they respond and maybe typing etc. And, the saying is “i couldn’t care less”!
I have a vehicle in which you can plug in your i-Pod. So you drive down the highway and you you want to listen to Jimi Hendrix after hearing Minglwood. So you have to search through your i-Pod for the other musician. This is dangerous and it is distracted driving. Pull over and do the change, then get back on the road.
Geizzly2 I have no problem with them getting the Information via radio, but they don’t their cell phones or laptops to get that info. That is why they have a radio and a team of dispatchers.
Around and around we go.
1. The distraction while driving and talking on a phone comes from the conversation one is having. If a person is using a electronic device or a blue tooth, he is still as distracted as the person using a hand held device.
2. The fact that the distraction is the same was published a few years ago by the Liberal Governments white paper on distracted driving. Problem is they have never publically stated that both uses of a phone have the same distraction. Not sure why. In any event they fine you for the hand held device, and ignore you if you are using a blue tooth, etc; Seems to me this is because its easier to spot a hand held device, and to issue a ticket.
3. Driving without due care and attention has been on the books for years and needs to be used more.
4. Just because a person was taking on a phone and was involved in an accident does not automatically make him responsible for the accident. That’s why the fine is for talking on a hand held device. If they charged the person with undue care and attention they would have to take them to court and prove they were responsible. Easier said than done.
5. So, we are just going in circles with this issue, and not solving any problems, however we are generating revenue for the Government.
The distraction while driving and talking on a phone comes from the conversation one is having. If a person is using a electronic device or a blue tooth, he is still as distracted as the person using a hand held device.
I disagree Palopu. Talking via a hands free device is really no different than talking to the person sitting beside you. I think using a non hands free phone is worse because you have to deal with the device.
Now that said, I think the big issue here is not drinking a coffee, talking to someone in the passenger seat or eating a sandwich. I think it’s texting and driving or any similar act where you have to actively use the device while driving. People have to look away from the road and ignore what they are doing in order to text. You can’t multitask effectively while doing it. That’s why people will be stopped at green lights for 5 or 10 seconds before they realize everyone beside them has started moving again. They get locked into what they are doing on the phone and that’s what makes it dangerous.
I simply can’t foresee any police officer giving out a ticket for eating a chicken strip while driving or for talking to your passenger. Just because some communications person comes up with a message saying how everything could be distracted driving, does not mean the enforcement will follow.
Perhaps that’s the problem. Tell people exactly what the issue is (texting and driving), make the expectations clear and then enforce them. Don’t do this “everything you do could be offside” stuff. It doesn’t help matters.
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