With the hopes of educating rather than enforcing, Comox Valley RCMP Const. Don Sinclair said a recent blitz on distracted driving netted 41 drivers tickets for talking or texting on their mobile device.
Monday, police in the area had extra enforcement to remind drivers to leave their phone alone while they drive, he explained.
According to ICBC, distracted driving is now the second leading cause of car crash fatalities in the province.
Between 2009 and 2013, there were 88 deaths in the province attributed to distracted driving, with 12 of the deaths occurring on Vancouver Island.
Sinclair said use of cell phones is becoming more rampant amongst drivers, and drivers should be reminded of certain misconceptions when it comes to mobile devices and driving.
“Even talking and holding your phone when it’s on speakerphone is an offence or texting while the car is waiting at an intersection,” he explained.
Officers have been catching drivers through strategic means, he noted, with police disguised as ‘squeegee kids’ keeping an eye out for offending drivers. There will be further enforcement throughout the month and year.
Sinclair suggested drivers invest in a hands-free Bluetooth option if a phone must be used while driving, pull over to a safe location to answer a call, turn off the phone or, to resist the temptation altogether, place the cell phone in the trunk while driving.