Don't Let Your Mobile Phone Distract You: Safe Driving in BC

To increase their efforts to contain the number one killer on the roads, local police in York and Toronto are focusing on distracted driving for the next six weeks. During this Distracted Driving Blitz, which began on July 29, 2014, police from these two major cities will be making an even greater effort to keep drivers away from their mobile devices while on the road.

Why are officers in these major towns spending so much time enforcing distracted driving rather than impaired driving or other problems? You might be surprised to learn that distracted driving has surpassed drinking and driving as the deadliest driving activity. In BC, 81 deaths could be directly linked to distracted driving, compared to 55 deaths from impaired driving.

As a result, the provincial government is considering increasing both fines and driver penalty points for distracted drivers. The Office of the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles is set to report back to Justice Minister Suzanne Anton on the situation later this year.

Current penalties for distracted driving in BC include a $167 fine and penalty points for emailing or texting behind the wheel. In Ontario, authorities are hoping to increase the fine to $1000 to cut down on distracted driving for good.

Why exactly are mobile devices so dangerous, and how you can do your part to keep the roads safe (and avoid potentially hefty fines)? Read on to learn how to drive safely and distraction free.

Distracted Driving Statistics

Driving while operating your mobile device splits your attention between two tasks. Although you might think you can focus on the road and the conversation, neither activity will command your full attention, which decreases the both task’s quality.

Research shows that when you’re using a mobile phone while driving, you take in only 50% of the surrounding visual cues that are crucial to keeping you safe on the road.

According to the Canada Automobile Association, texting while driving makes you 23 times more likely to crash or nearly crash. This explains why distracted driving contributes to 4 million motor vehicle collisions in North America per year.

Similarly, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported in 2010 that 80% of crashes and 65% of near crashes could be directly traced back to distracted driving.

In BC alone, police officers issued 51,000 distracted driving tickets last year. That $167 fine can really add up-especially if you receive more than one per year. For instance, one BC resident received 26 tickets in the last three years, which meant $4,342 in fines, a $24,0 00 yearly ICBC insurance premium, a seven-day car impoundment, and an arrest.

Learning to set that mobile device down is good for you and your wallet- responding to one text message isn’t worth a crash or ticket.

Kevin Blair &
Graham Taylor

Taylor & Blair LLP
Personal Injury lawyers
1607 – 805 West Broadway
Vancouver, B.C.