Although the final numbers aren’t in for the month quite yet, Const. Rob Gardner of the Comox Valley RCMP said he is hoping drivers are getting the message about distracted driving.
The RCMP’s month-long distracted driving campaign comes to an end today, but that doesn’t mean enforcement will stop, he explained.
“A lot of people aren’t understanding the rules.”
“There are two things in particular: you can’t have your phone on your lap on speakerphone – you can’t directly communicate with it but Bluetooth is fine if it’s through the car stereo – and you can’t use the phone at stoplights. That’s when drivers really need to pay attention.”
In a five-day stretch this month, police issued 91 drivers tickets for distracted driving offences, from the Comox Valley detachment. Gardner noted the number doesn’t include violations ticketed by North Island Traffic Services, who also increased enforcement.
One Valley driver was also issued two tickets in one day: one in the morning for using a cell phone, and later that same day when officers moved to another area, said Gardner.
“So that’s a fine of $167 times two, and six points off her licence.”
He added while there isn’t one specific area in the Valley which is particularly bad for distracted drivers, he noted intersections are one of the biggest areas of concern for police.
According to ICBC, distracted driving is the second leading cause of collision fatalities in B.C. On average, there are 81 distracted driving deaths per year in the province.
The penalty for using a hand-held electronic device while driving is a $167 fine and three penalty points.