BC RCMP traffic services will not be showing any love this month to distracted drivers. February is Distracted Driving Month in British Columbia.
Preliminary motor vehicle statistics for 2012 indicate that 30% of fatalities and 37% of serious injuries involved distracted driving. Since January of 2010, police in British Columbia issued 105,972 violation tickets for the use of handheld electronic devices.
RCMP are also using the Driving Without Due Care and Attention law to target drivers who are using handheld devices and breaking other rules of the road, such as unsafe lane changes, following too close, and failing to obey traffic signals. If you are caught and fined for both offenses you could be paying well over $500 in fines.
Distracted driving is not just about handheld devices. It’s smoking, eating, reading, grooming, and any other activity that takes your attention from the road. Distracted driving laws have been in affect for a full three years, but every day we see people driving distracted.
Obviously, the consequence of receiving a $167 fine and 3 driver penalty points for texting or emailing is not a deterrent to get people to put devices down. There are hundreds of organizations across North America putting resources into teaching people to drive attentively. We could link to hundreds of public service announcement ads, videos, victim stories, and family tragedies. But does seeing another shock video change anyone’s behavior? No. Not really.
Why is the public not getting the message? Why do drivers continue to participate in this risky behavior? Would you drive down the Highway #1 from Vancouver to Surrey with your eyes closed for 5 seconds? I think not, but that 5 seconds is how long reading a text takes your eyes off the road.
Join the conversation – what ideas do you have to get people to Leave the Phone Alone?