Operation ‘Hang Up’ Underway in P.G.
Prince George, B.C.- Prince George RCMP Officers have set up operations in three different locations in Prince George, looking for those who have not yet learned to leave their phone alone.‘Operation Hang Up’ is aimed at catching those who are using their hand held devices while behind the wheel. Constable Patrick Kennedy with the Prince George RCMP Municipal Traffic Services says the message has to get out “There will always be distracted drivers, and that’s why we’re out here. Even though the fines and penalties have increased, I am personally dismayed that there are still drivers out there who still use their cell phones while they’re driving without any sort of blue tooth or hands free device.”
At one location, along Ospika, signs have been set up along the boulevard advising driving to leave the phone alone. ICBC’s Road Safety Coordinator, Doug MacDonald says hands free devices are the only type acceptable, “We’re still seeing people who are at intersections stopped at red lights, doing their texting, looking up at the lights, doing more texting and looking at the lights until it’s safe to go. We’re trying to get the message across that when you’re driving , put your cell phone away, put it in the glove box, back seat, but unfortunately people still aren’t getting the message.” He says if you must use the cell phone, pull over to the side of the road where it’s safe to do so. “A lot of times people think, it’s only for a few seconds, and they take their eyes off the road and all of a sudden there’s a pedestrian in front of you, or there’s someone on a bicycle you didn’t see before and that ( cell phone distraction) is taking the time away from what you need to react.”
Statistically, distracted driving is the second highest contributing factor in fatal crashes. MacDonald says each year, in the North Central region of the Province, about 14 people are killed in crashes where distracted driving was a factor.
Constable Kennedy says drivers need to be aware that even if the phone is not on, if it’s in your hand, you are in violation of the legislation and could be fined . The fine is $368 dollars and four penalty points.