Drivers are being warned to leave cell phones alone and avoid other distractions in a campaign targetting those not focused on the road.
Greater Victoria police agencies and ICBC are taking part in a province-wide education and enforcement campaign against distracted driving.
Distracted Drivers Beware! Throughout the month of March, police everywhere will be looking for anyone who puts their electronic device ahead of everyone’s safety. Starting at $368, that LOL text will become the most expensive text you’ll ever get. #yyj pic.twitter.com/a6msoMFtrj
— Saanich Police (@SaanichPolice) March 6, 2019
ICBC Road Safety Coordinator Colleen Woodger says one in four deaths on B.C. roads is the result of distracted driving, making it an issue that still needs to be addressed.
“Cell phones are the biggest issue and rightfully so, but there are other distractions as well,” Woodger said at an enforcement location on Finlayson Street in Victoria Wednesday morning.
“It’s simple things like grabbing an object on the floor, or out of the glove box. All of this takes your eyes off the road, your attention off the road.”
Victoria police Cst. Matt Rutherford said officers issued 28 tickets Tuesday, specifically for using electronic devices while driving.
“People have one task when they get behind the wheel, that is to get to their destination safely. Being on your phone, being distracted by other means like having a pet on your lap, these are all things to prevent you from getting to your destination safely and keeping everyone safe around you,” Rutherford said.
Woodger said distracted driving is anything that takes your attention away from the road, putting other drivers, pedestrians and cyclists around you at risk.
She says drivers need to plan ahead if using an electronic device during your travel.
“Program your ‘infotainment’ before hitting the road. This prevents you from doing it in traffic. And if you are in traffic, or at a red light, you are still driving, you still need to be aware of what’s going on around you.”
If you're behind the wheel, turn your phone off, put it out of sight or turn on airplane mode to avoid the temptation to check your phone. @cqrcmp and #cellWatch volunteers are reminding you to keep your #EyesFwdBC. pic.twitter.com/EisE7uQkef
— ICBC (@icbc) March 5, 2019
A police ticket for distracted driving starts at $368.
If you have two or more distracted driving infractions over a three-year period, you will be charged with a driver’s risk premium that’s about $740 dollars on top of what you’re already paying for insurance.