In an effort to combat distracted driving in B.C., the use of technology has been introduced with two pilot projects announced Tuesday.
The Provincial government, ICBC and police have partnered on the projects in response to increased insurance rate pressure and a rise in the number of crashes on B.C. roads.
The first pilot will include 200 ICBC customers using phone apps paired with telematics, which involves placing a small device on a vehicle that communicates with an app installed on the driver’s cellphone.
When the in-vehicle technology senses that the vehicle is being driven, the app works to block the use of a handheld device.
This technology is considered to be the most promising after a review of submissions by ICBC in the spring.
Insurers have been able to collect driving behaviour with the combination of telematics with phone apps, such as kilometres travelled and average speed.
This will launch in January with results expected in the spring of 2018.
The other pilot will begin next spring and uses a Bluetooth-enabled scope for police to catch distracted driving.
Police will have access to an image that will be captured by the scope and be able to show that picture to a distracted driver
Officers will test the units in different weather and traffic conditions for usability and effectiveness.
“Distracted driving is a high-risk behaviour that jeopardizes the safety of drivers and pedestrians alike,” Minister responsible for ICBC David Eby said.
“These pilots are the first step in a thoughtful examination of the role technology can play in preventing distracted driving. I look forward to the results to help us better understand their potential to influence driver behaviour and inform changes so insurance rates are set fairly.”
Findings from the pilots will help with future decisions around prevention and enforcement of distracted driving.
It will also impact changes to improve the fairness of how insurance rates are set.