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.”