On Thursday, nearly 40 Saanich drivers were caught, mobile device in hand, after police embarked on a distracted driving crackdown at a popular intersection.
Saanich PD’s Traffic Safety Unit worked in tandem with CRD Integrated Road Safety Unit officers from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m on the Mackenzie Avenue and Quadra Street intersection, nabbing distracted drivers.
The campaign focused on distracted driving that morning, which led to police handing out 67 violations to drivers for various offences which included using an electronic device while driving, failing to wear seat-belts, red or yellow light infractions and other Motor Vehicle Act infractions.
More than half of those tickets issued were related to distracted driving.
It’s a project Saanich PD says it will be conducting over the next month as it work in collaboration and support of ICBC’s distracted driving month campaign.
“Our Traffic Safety Unit continues to focus on the top three causes for serious collisions in our province, which include distracted driving, impaired driving and dangerous driving,” said Const. Markus Anastasiades of the Saanich PD. “
“The residents of Saanich continue to tell us that road safety is a top priority for them, and we hope our efforts on enforcement, education and stakeholder collaboration work towards reducing the frequency and severity of serious moto vehicle collisions in our community.”
Saanich Police says using an electronic device while driving continues to be the top distraction that officers are seeing on Saanich roads.
According to ICBC, 95 per cent of people believe texting while driving is risky — 80 per cent say even just looking at your phone is dangerous — but 39 per cent of people admit to using their phone while driving at least once in every 10 trips.
More than one in every four fatal crashes on B.C. roads involve distracted driving, and ICBC says it claims 78 lives each year in the province, with an average of 10 deaths a year reported on Vancouver Island.
“Keep your eyes and focus on the road because no distraction is worth the risk of causing preventable serious injuries or deaths,” said Superintendent Holly Turton, Vice-Chair of the BC Association of Chiefs of Police Traffic Safety Committee.
Since B.C.’s distracted driving law came into effect in January 2010, more than 455,000 tickets have been issued to drivers for using an electronic device while driving.
“The fines are costly however an easy way to avoid these fines and help contribute to safer roads for all of us is to leave your phone alone, avoid distractions, and focus on the task of driving,” said the department in a statement to CHEK News.
For more information on distracted driving, visit the ICBC website.
READ MORE: Driver who hit 11-year-old girl in Saanich crosswalk sentenced to two years in prison