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.
The advice to pull over to use the phone makes sense, but if I am not mistaken, I have read news accounts of people being ticketed for using a cell phone while in the driver’s seat of a stopped vehicle. Is stopping at the side of the road enough to make one safe from a ticket?
Yes you can be ticketed if you are not stopped at the side of the road but rather stopped at a light, stop sign, stopped by a flagger, etc.
Whats the difference between parking at Tim’s and parking on side of road.. Both are in control of vehicle
There is little evidence that increasing fines is an effective deterrence for changing public behaviour. However, a simple minded government will choose to increase fines rather than spend money on more effective public awareness / education campaigns.
I just saw a pig fly by my window. I find myself agreeing with your first statement. But I disagree with the second. Education is always touted as the answer, and in spite of all the information surrounding this issue, people still do it. We’ve known for a long time how women get pregnant, how people get STD’s, and yet, it’s still “accidentally” happening because people react rather than think.
That said, a ticket is pain delayed. Yes, you got stopped, but the consequences are down the road. What if the police officer stopped you, handed you a little book on road safety, with 10 multiple choice questions at the end, and you couldn’t leave until you passed the test. What if he took the object of your desire away – the phone. That would hurt.
Re: your last part about taking away the phone.
Funny I was thinking just the same. They impound vehicles for a period of time for certain violations. What if they impounded the cell phone for say 24 or 48 hours? That likely would resonate with the violator far more than any fine.
You can’t educate those who will not be educated. Ever heard of “you can’t fix stupid”?
214.2 (1) A person must not use an electronic device while driving or operating a motor vehicle on a highway.
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,
I was under the impression it’s illegal to use them in a drive through or a parking lot, but it seems to only apply to “on a highway”. Nice if someone could clarify what “on a highway” means to the RCMP.
But keep in mind, if you’re pulled over to the side of the road, with your foot resting on the brake but transmission in drive, you’re not parked. They can ticket you.
And if you’re pulled over on the small shoulder of Chief Lake Road, you are impeding traffic, but don’t worry, police never go out that way so you’re pretty safe.
If i need to stop talking on my phone , than no one should be talking on any device. Cops , put down your 2 way radio’s . phones , and shut your computers off..school bus drivers and all truckers . shut down your 2 way radio’s. There are many companies out there that have 2 way radio’s in there vehicles , including all taxi’s
Generally speaking, drivers should be focused on driving and should avoid distractions, including communications devices. In some cases, however, the communications device itself adds to road safety, e.g. on resource roads. (It would seem to be well within the abilities of current technology to have logging truck radios produce position announcements by themselves, using GPS information and (a subset) of mileposts with transmitters. Similarly, channel changes could be communicated electronically to radios as one passes by.)
Taxi traffic is is mostly dispatcher to driver – the driver rarely needs to do more than acknowledge a call. (Taxi drivers who chat on their cells the entire time are a hazard and generally don’t provide good service either. I have had cabs miss turns because the driver was chatting on his phone rather than listening to my instructions.)
Two way radios are included in the distracted driving law. Many people need to use them to properly and safely do their jobs and there are regulations governing their use. Imagine if you had to pull over on a controlled road every time you needed to call out your vehicles position
9 A person may use a hand microphone while driving or operating a motor vehicle on a highway if
(a) the device is within easy reach of the driver’s seat, and
(b) is securely fixed to the motor vehicle or worn securely on the person’s body in a manner that does not obstruct the person’s view of the front or sides of the motor vehicle or interfere with the safety or operating equipment of the motor vehicle.
Smart phones have GPS. Phones ought to be factory configured (no access from user to alter this program!) so it will not work while it is in motion. If you are driving, the phone will lock itself out. If you are walking, it will also be non-functional! User must stop! That will prevent people from crashing into each other and into immovable objects like lamp posts and garbage cans, or falling into fountains or open man holes.
Our government has the power and obligation to mandate manufacturers to meet certain standards before giving certification! They simply can add this requirement for all new phones! Are the minions asleep?
The phone cannot distinguish between drivers and passengers, the latter of whom are entitled to use their phone at will.
The more significant issue is that studies have shown that even speaking hands-free on a cell phone while driving distracts the driver. Hands-free is not the answer. Leaving the phone completely alone is the better choice.
Smart comment, and you make some good points!
In an emergency or when it is absolutely necessary for the passenger(s) to use a smart phone the vehicle can pull over at any time, stop and someone can make that urgent call. Small sacrifice when one is a passenger, just ask the driver to pull off the road and stop. It is not a too complicated thing to do, or is it?
But then you can’t play pokemon…
Maybe the cops could set a good example and stop texting at lights as well? I get it if they have to talk on their phones, but txt’ing? Get real. They have bluetooth in all the cars btw, and stop giving us the crap that txting is part of their job, when they are driving.
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 .
Maybe if you can prove they are texting their mother or girl friend or to meet up for coffee you would have a point
They shouldn’t be texting, period. Just like the rest of of common folk.
Can’t count the number of times that I have seen the argument about cops using their devices while on the road when we are talking about civilians using theirs.
Get the F**% over it, the fact they are using their devices in no way shape or form entitles the rest of us to ignore the law. In most cases the cops have a legitimate reason for using their phones or laptops while on the road.
As for the penalties, I agree that fines alone will never be a strong enough deterrent, and education?…give me a freaking break! Unless you’ve been living in a cave you have seen and read all about the dangers and risks of distracted driving….yet the worst offenders still do it.
I would suggest a more vigilant enforcement effort, as well as a minimum 24 hour impound of the device on first offence, with the second offence being for 7 days and ANY subsequent offences leading to the device being seized and destroyed. I would suggest that most offenders will not progress past the first offence, and certainly not past the second if they know what is coming. Of course the fines can then become $500 on first offence, $1000 on second offence and $10K on the third.
This might keep a lot of people off of their devices as they won’t be able to afford to own one!
My thoughts exactly, Nytehawwk!!
If we expect to get serious about stopping distracted driving, then we need to get serious about the consequences, especially considering that the worst consequences are the potential deaths of innocent people!
Finally, an intelligent post. Next it’ll be “The police have red and blue lights, why can’t I?”
They have tools to do their job and am glad they do.
Impounding a cell phone after a first offense would be wonderful.
Or, some of us understand that cops are just average drivers like the rest of us, and shouldn’t be texting and driving.
I totally agree with more enforcement, but maybe instead of RCMP why not hire some by-law officers like they do in the Yukon (that’s who enforces their motor vehicle act) and really start making the chances of getting caught higher.
Unfortunately, those that can pay those kinds of tickets are not punished like the person working a minimum wage job (lots of big money in Vancouver to hire a lawyer or just pay a big fine). Maybe the government can give Superintendent of Motor Vehicles the mandate or legislation to suspend the licenses for 3 to 6 months or longer on the second offence?
Trouble is, the bylaw officers we have here are usually nowhere to be found, especially when needed. Whose fault that is, I’m not sure, so I’m not sure that would work here.
Maybe if they made the fines say, 10% of a person’s annual income, they might have a little more effect.
It’s not like all those signs on the boulevard are distracting?
A friend was stopped by cops using a spotting scope looking for cellphone users at 5th ave. He was replying to a text message. The cop let him go with a warning. There’s enforcement for you.
I agree with Andrew 171718. Talking on a hands free phone is just as distracting as a hand held device. So are a number of other things like combing your hair, lighting a cigarette, having a dog on your lap, etc; etc;.
So why would the Government allow hands free phones even though their own study on distracted driving showed that it is just as bad as hand held devices.??
When you consider the high court costs and the high cost of incarceration in this Province you can see why the Government would like to solve the problem with fines. Fines allow the Government to make money, while incarceration for 2nd or 3rd offences would cost them money.
People who continue to break the law should be compelled to defend their actions in a court of law, and if necessary spend some time in jail. This would immediately start to reduce the number of distracted drivers.
The average cost per day for a prisoner in a Provincial Jail is $141.78 (2006). So if you got the automatic 14 days in jail it would cost the Government roughly $2000.00 plus police and court costs. So its pretty obvious why they don’t want to go down this road. The problem is, is that having these people go through the court system is probably the best way to get a reduction in the number of offences.
Not only do they spend some time in jail, they lose two weeks pay (or take their holidays) and run the risk of getting fired.
So there is a solution, however I doubt if it will be used.
So many baby sitting laws and so many people breaking them; sad we actually need a law in place to say,”Don’t stop looking at the road while driving a vehicle because you’ll kill people or yourself or both”. Happens somewhere everyday and will continue to – I say disable all cellphones while driving; period. Sorry, so sad the passenger can’t text or facebook for what is 99% of the time short commutes. For longer trips; oh no – just may have to include human interaction!
People will whine of course but the rights of a few don’t outway everyone’s rights to a safe community. Disable all cell phones except 911 feature; end of story.
You sound really smart, you could run for the Liberal party with your amazing insight.
Comments for this article are closed.