State agencies kick off campaign discouraging distracted driving

DjelicS  iStock  Thinkstock

DjelicS iStock Thinkstock

The campaign aims to end distracted driving through education and raise awareness about the associated dangers.

Too many drivers are ignoring their responsibilities behind the wheel, and distracted driving is a growing and deadly threat on our roadways.

"Distracted driving was responsible for almost a quarter of all auto crash fatalities in B.C. over the past five years, making this the second-leading cause of motor vehicle fatalities behind speeding and narrowly ahead of impaired driving", said Michael Weightman, Road and Safety Coordinator for ICBC.

Employing the aid of a bucket truck - courtesy the City of Chilliwack - police watched from above for distracted drivers during a traffic enforcement blitz on March 29.

Driver's found violating the law could be ticketed for $150 on the first offense, $300 for the second offense and $500 for the third and subsequent offenses.

National estimates by NHTSA, mark 10% of fatal crashes, 15% of injury crashes, and 14% of all police-reported motor vehicle crashes in 2015 as distraction-affected crashes. This is a 9 percent increase in fatalities as compared to the previous year. If you need to text, pull over and park your vehicle in a safe place first. But, he added, "Don't text and drive".

"The theme is 'You drive".

Don't follow the pack, be a leader.

Put away the phone - or turn it off - before getting behind the wheel.

"Everyone knows texting and driving is illegal and unsafe, and everyone knows they shouldn't be doing it-but we see it happen all the time", said Lieutenant Kevin E. Geno.

According to a media release, if you get caught using your cell phone while driving you will be fined $162.

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