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October 27, 2017 6:10 pm

Distracted Driving Campaign Nabs 16 Drivers

Tuesday, April 4, 2017 @ 9:14 AM

Prince George, B.C. – The Prince Georg e RCMP ticketed 16 drivers during its March Distracted Driving Campaign.

Though a seemingly low number, Cpl. Craig Douglass says Mounties pulled out all the stops to nab such drivers – including using fully-marked police cars, unmarked and unconventional police cars. He says they even rode public buses to observe drivers using their devices while driving.

He says the tickets cost each first-time offender $543 – an initial fine of $368, plus four demerit points adding an additional $175.

Douglass says Citizens on Patrol also observed over 4,700 vehicles over the course of the month and caught 57 drivers texting or talking on their cell phones. He says warning letters will be sent to those drivers.

Police say the crash risk is 23 times higher for those who text while driving and is the second-leading contributing factor in vehicle fatalities in B.C. with 88 deaths a year.


That’s awesome, they even have scopes now to catch you up to five km done the road but they can’t catch some guy shooting at vehicles all the way from Kitimat to Chilliwack. Good job though seriously on the distracted driving.

    Thought it was 2 km, but good to see a few bucks out of pocket for those who feel entitled.
    Would love to hear some of the excuses drivers give.

      I once answered my phone at a stop sign when my girlfriend in the ER called, turned to the side and saw an officer in the next lane. Pulled over, apologized, took my ticket and went to go see her. There are occasional excuses that make sense (I was stopped, it was urgent), but I accepted I ****ed up and paid my fee.

      Sieg, there are those times when a warning will suffice, yours should have been one.

I saw that many people on their phones on my way to work this morning. And it’s only a five minute drive for me.

    should take pictures of them

      Forget it! Don’t do it because that would make you a distracted driver yourself – driving and taking pictures at the same time is using an electronic device while in control of a motor vehicle!

Not a great number in my opinion. I can’t drive 1 km in this town and not see people texting while driving. They must have all got the message and stopped at the same time.

57 drivers out of 4700 vehicles? From personal observation, that figure seems much lower then it really is.

I was parked a red light at superstore a few days ago and could see 6 drivers on all sides of me. New record, all 6 were texting.

Only 16? How embarrasing. I see that many while travelling the bypass.

It takes me 5 secs to find 16 perps

Only 16 in a month! Not nearly enough. City detachment is sending the wrong message with this half hearted effort and piss poor result.

While some of those tickets are warranted, my friend’s daughter was one of the 16. She was sitting at a red light and went to change the music on her iphone which was sitting on the consule. She plays her music through her car speakers using her phone. She was neither texting nor speaking on the phone and she was also sitting at the stop light. The cop was stopped at the light beside her and saw that she was looking down and gave her a distracted driver ticket despite her explanation. She is a young driver (21). While I don’t condon texting or speaking on your phone not hands free, I am putting this out there as a “beware of the cops” if they have a campaign on and need numbers. Obviously she has filed her dispute and this will go to a hearing. The cop will need to attend at the tax payers expense of course. Does this mean that regardless of the circumstances, if you are not looking directly out the front window at all times you run the risk of being ticketed – even if you should look down to change the station on your car radio!

    Rules are rules. If she was looking down (regardless of being at a stop light) she was distracted, ie, she was not focused on the task at hand. It’s not a 2000 pound toy, it’s a killing machine.

    The cop will be attending court that day to address all the disputed tickets he issued so it’s not as though he’s going for just on case. The Justice will no doubt add enough penalties to easily pay for the officer’s day.

      He won’t even show up, because they won’t want pay his overtime. It will get tossed.

    People can look anywhere they want when driving. ie; up, down, sideways, etc, etc;. If she had the iphone in her hand then there is a good chance she will get the ticket. Looking down has nothing to do with being distracted, other than it gives the police something to go on, and usually would result in an infraction if in fact you were reading or sending a text.

    People are texting all the time. Not sure what they think is so important that they have to text while driving. Perhaps they are getting instructions to pick up a loave of bread on the way home,.

    Unfortunately an iphone is a hand held device. The judge will ask her if she was using it to change music, if she says yes, case closed. Save your time and effort and consider it as a life lesson.

    :…and went to change the music on her iphone which was sitting on the consule.”

    Well, if she touched it to change the music she was actually using it!

The definition of Distracted Driving is a form of impaired driving as a driver’s judgment is compromised when they are not fully focused on the road. Distracted driving qualifies as talking on a cell phone, texting, reading (e.g. books, maps, and newspapers), using a GPS, watching videos or movies, eating/drinking, smoking, personal grooming, adjusting the radio/CD and playing extremely loud music. Even talking to passengers and driving while fatigued (mentally and/or physically) can be forms of distracted driving. This pretty much covers everything you do in your vehicle. I think it is sad when our police force feel that everything on this list can be ticketed – not just the cell/text portion – To me that is just wrong. If you take out talking on a cell phone and texting, most of us are “guilty” of distracted driving on a daily basis. The dispute process starts by notifying ICBC Ticket Dispute centre within 30 days that you are disputing the ticket. Your ticket is then put into their system and you will be notified by mail of a hearing date and time (often 6 to 8 months down the road). Once you have a hearing date, you would then notify the RCMP Detachment and request full disclosure of the member’s records dealing with your ticket to be provided piror to the hearing date which would require some form of file review, copying and postage, you then attend in Court and can cross examine the RCMP member which is why that particular cop has to turn up to defend their ticket. The Judge (actualy a Judicial Justice) can find the offender quilty and impose the fine as is, or lower the fine, or make a finding of not guilty. Either way the process is lengthlyand is just one more frivolous case tying up the court and everyone’s time. There are no further penalties imposed. To me this is like getting a speeding ticket when you are going 61k in a 60k zone – unnecessary to say the least. The cop could have given a warning to a young driver that changing the station on your radio (phone) could be ticketed but chose instead to actually impose a fine/points totalling over $500. What about the 57 drivers sent warning letters for being caught texting or talking on a cell phone by Citizens on Patrol . My point is that often the RCMP think in getting their quota so that they can post how many tickets were issued during “Distracted Driving Month” – which incidentially looking at the number of comments they certainly missed a lot

    The law isn’t quite that broad.

    214.1 In this Part:

    “electronic device” means

    (a) a hand-held cellular telephone or another hand-held electronic device that includes a telephone function,
    (b) a hand-held electronic device that is capable of transmitting or receiving electronic mail or other text-based messages, or
    (c) a prescribed class or type of electronic device;
    “use”, in relation to an electronic device, means one or more of the following actions:

    (a) holding the device in a position in which it may be used;
    (b) operating one or more of the device’s functions;
    (c) communicating orally by means of the device with another person or another device;
    (d) taking another action that is set out in the regulations by means of, with or in relation to an electronic device.

    Just the fact she changed her music was all it took.

    The exceptions – which is why you can use your vehicles hands free features.

    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.

      Ice, thankyou.

    Quite an article, Reader2. The question remains, have you had any traffic tickets? Have you caused any accidents? Are you a defensive driver? Just curious, because, by your post, it would appear, you’ve been to court.

    Why should you care if a “friends” daughter got a ticket anyways? It’s not like it was your daughter and you have to pay the fine, right? Sounds to me like you are the typical parent who is always making excuses for their kids so they don’t have to take responsibility. And no wonder that generation has an overwhelming sense of entitlement, because people like you won’t let them take responsibility.

Her ticket was for “Distracted Driving” as opposed to “Use of Electronic Device While Driving” pursuant to Section 214.2(1) of the MOtor Vehicle Act. The Motor Vehicle Act is vague on a full definition of Distracted Driving but cites the various other infractions set out in my earlier comment as being a form of distracted driving. Her phone was sitting on the consule – she did not have it in her hand. It is a very expensive lesson for sure and a shame that the cop felt it necessary to render a ticket. My friend’s daughter was not alone in the vehicle and is adamant that she was neither texting nor speaking on her cell phone – shel will be fighting this in the courts. She is not a rule breaker and knows the consequences of use of a cell phone while driving. A warning would have been a much better solution for all.

that’s it? are the Police distracted as well? every time I drive around, almost everyone is texting or on their phones! the Police should open their eyes a bit more! or get off their laptops while driving and bring revenue to Prince George and be more aggressive about their crack down! this is disappointing!

And what did we do in the Stone Age, just 20 some Years ago without all this Phones ? We just did ok, if you would have left the stupid Thing at Home or in your Pocket turned off, do you think the World would have come to an End, or you missed this Call, about your Heart Transplant !
The only Way we can fix this , Phones must be turned off getting in to the Car. I know it wont work for you , you are so busy, you got to get this Call!

    Hey, so true!

I think the Cops should be handing out 543 dollar distracted driving tickets to a lot of you “faultless” wonders for spending more time watching what others do in their cars than watching the road.

Most of what has been described above is actually covered by our **Driving without due care and attention laws**

People should keep in mind that they are innocent until proven guilty. The onus is on the police and prosecutor to prove the guilt.

So talking on a cell phone, or texting is pretty specific under the law, and if observed by a police officer you would pretty well be convicted. Changing a radio station is another thing entirely.

It does not necessarily follow that just because you were eating a hot dog, or smoking a cigerette, or drinking coffee, that you were driving without due care and attention. Fact is, they would have to prove in court that you were actually distracted, and if no accident was involved it would be hard to prove.

As an example anyone driving and being subject to someones high beams would certainly be distracted, however if they were to be charged, then we would all have to stay home once it got dark.

Part of the reason that the Government gets away with these childish laws are because they do not use the laws that have been on the books for years, because it costs them to much money, and they therefore bastardize the law, and come up with stupid laws that have a fine for a penalty, and thus generate revenue, while saving court costs. If people fought these charges in court the Government would soon back away.

    False, the onus is on you to prove you were not guilty otherwise you are guilty. It is the RCMP’s observation that constitutes the “crime” and you are guilty until such a time as you can prove your innocence. Same as an RCMP officer driving the opposite way as you are, if he cannot see your seat belt on your shoulder he can give you a fine, regardless if you have it on and your coat is covering it. Same as a phone, hold anything in your hand and you will have to prove in court it was not a phone but you are guilty until such a time as you prove it was not a phone. I have to go to court to prove I was holding my wallet in my truck with a hands free device attached to my windshield because he saw me leave costco with something in my hand that was black while he was driving the other way. I doubt I will win in court as the judge will tell me that the law is clear and to suck it up buttercup. Now I drive with both hands at the top of my steering wheel and even then had two cars race up beside me and stare into my vehicle in the last few weeks.

    Point is the officer is right until you can somehow prove them wrong which unless you have no cell phone in the vehicle at the time or have a witness is virtually impossible. You can try to appeal to the judge but unless you can cry on cue that too is difficult.

Hey Outwest, You know we built the Coquihalla with out the use of cell phones. As contractors we asked BC Tel for help but all we had was the radio operator.Sure would have been nice to have the cell phone help that people are abusing now.

    Did we even have cell phones in the early 80’s?

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