Why you may be driving distracted and not even know it

WatchAfter a Vancouver senior received a controversial ticket for having her phone in her cup holder, a Victoria Police traffic officer explains the rules. April Lawrence reports.

A dashcam video released from Vancouver Police captured a speeding Mazda as it slammed into a police vehicle with its lights flashing. The officer, who was injured in the crash, had been handing out a distracted driving ticket at the time.

The incident has police once again urging people to pay attention.

“Just don’t do anything that takes your eyes off the road,” said Victoria Police Const. Stephen Pannekoek.

Pannekoek says he was shocked when VicPD’s distracted driving blitz last month nabbed 74 drivers.

“I had over 15 people in one hour, literally with workers walking in front of their car they were heads down in front of their phones, usually I could walk all the way up to their vehicle, knock on their vehicle and they didn’t even know I was there,” said Pannekoek. “If you don’t see the 6’2″ Viking, then you’re going to miss everyone smaller,” he joked.

A distracted driving ticket issued to a Vancouver senior this week for charging her phone in her cup holder has many questioning what exactly is or isn’t allowed.

There are a few rules Pannekoek says drivers need to follow:

  • If your phone is in your cup holder or on your passenger seat make sure the screen is facing away from you or is upside down.
  • If you want to see your screen your phone has to be mounted. If it is mounted you can only touch the screen once, and only to pick up or hang up a phone call, not to navigate GPS or scroll through music.
  • You can only have one ear bud in your ear, not two.
  • Novice (N) drivers can’t use a smartphone for any reason, even if it’s mounted.
  • The Vancouver senior did end up getting the cup holder ticket thrown out. Pannekoek says all the tickets he handed out last month were much more obvious.
  • “It was in their hand or an egregious use, we are not writing ones that are nit-picky,” he said.
  • While it’ll cost you at least $578 dollars for a ticket and the points on your license, the price of distracted driving is much greater in B.C. 77 people die because of it every year.
April LawrenceApril Lawrence

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