Drivers are going to have bigger problems than a missed call or text if they’re caught reaching for their electronic device this month.
Throughout March, Terrace RCMP and the West Pacific Region Traffic Services will be cracking down on those not paying attention behind the wheel or not wearing their seatbelts during a monthly campaign on Distracted Driving and Occupant Restraint.
Police officers will be watching for people texting, talking, or using their electronic devices while driving, and blitzing numerous areas throughout the city as part of this month-long campaign.
“The fines for using an electronic device while driving exceed $500,” said Constable Crystal Evelyn, Community Policing and Media Liaison for Terrace RCMP. “The fines are steep for a reason: distracted driving is dangerous.”
According to ICBC, distracted driving is responsible for more than one quarter of all car crash fatalities in British Columbia.
“It’s not worth the risk,” added Const. Evelyn. “You have to pay full attention while driving. If you see someone who is driving while distracted, safely note their license plate, park somewhere safe, and contact police.”
Some quick facts about Distracted Driving:
• Distracted Driving includes the use of electronic devices such as cell phones, iPods, and GPS systems while driving.
• Distracted Driving has passed Impaired Driving to become the second leading cause of car crashes on British Columbia roadways.
• According to ICBC Distracted Driving contributes to an average of 81 deaths in crashes every year in British Columbia, 15 in the northern region.
• Distracted Driving is a $368 fine with four demerit points. The fine coupled with the ICBC Driver Penalty Point Premium of $175, pushes the financial penalty of distracted driving to $543.
• It is illegal to use your device at red lights and stop signs. You must be pulled off the travel portion of the roadway and parked.
Tips for safe mobile phone use
1. Leave your phone alone. No call or text is worth risking your life or others. Let calls go to voicemail and ignore your text messages while driving.
2. Pull over to make or receive a call. If you have to take a call, pull over if it’s safe to do so or use your phone in hands-free mode; stay focused on the road and keep the conversation brief.
3. Plan to avoid distraction. Turn your cellphone off or place it in the trunk of your car so you won’t be tempted to talk, email or text when you’re on the road.
4. Assign a designated texter. Ask your passengers to make or receive calls and texts for you.
5. Keep your hands off. Hands-free means a Bluetooth or wired headset or speakerphone. If you’re using a headset or headphones, remember that drivers can only wear them in one ear.
If you have information about crime contact the Terrace RCMP at 250-638-7400 or anonymously through Crime Stoppers by telephone at 1-800-222-TIPS, online at www.terracecrimestoppers.ca or by texting keyword TERRACE followed by your message to 274637 (CRIMES).