ICBC and the Vancouver police have teamed up on a new prevention of distracted driving campaign. Distracted driving really entails anything that diverts your attention from driving but one of the most common distractions is using a phone to text or talk while driving. If you are doing so it will take you longer to react to unexpected situations and you will be less aware of what is going on around you. It is against the law to use your phone while you are driving. The Motor Vehicle Act prohibits using a hand held electronic device while driving. The only exceptions to this are if you are able to use the phone in a hands free manner, if you are using the phone to call or send a message to police, fire or ambulance about an emergency or if you are using the device while parked. During this campaign, the police will be on the lookout for those who are driving distracted and will fine you. In addition to a hefty fine, you will get penalty points if you are caught driving distracted.
There are some real reasons that ICBC and the police are concerned about distracted driving. Consider the following facts provided by ICBC:
- Every year, on average, 31 people die in the Lower Mainland due to distracted related crashes and 91 people are killed in BC;
- Distracted driving is the third leading cause of fatal car crashes in BC, trailing behind speed and impaired driving.
- You are four times more likely to crash when talking on a hand-held phone behind the wheel, and 23 times more likely to get in a crash if you text while driving.
- A 2012 Ipsos Reid Survey, conducted on behalf of ICBC, showed that BC drivers consider texting while driving to be just as risky as drinking and driving, yet 40 percent of those who own cell phones admit they’ve used their hand-held phone while driving.
If despite the fine, the penalty points and these frightening statistics you are still not deterred from distracted driving, watch this video from Minnesota that demonstrates the devastating consequences of distracted driving.