NEXT time you are out and about, pay close attention to what the drivers in the other vehicles are doing.
Chances are you are going to see drivers speaking on cellphones and texting – some even doing so while turning corners and changing lanes, seemingly oblivious to the world around them.
It’s a dangerous habit with recent statistics indicating just under 90 people are killed each year from distracted driving not to mention rising insurance claims from rear-end collisions and the like.
In addition to the standard fine of $167, the provincial government this fall announced drivers caught while using cellphones will also end up with three demerit points.
Fines and demerit points are only effective as deterrents when there is vigorous enforcement on hand as a follow through and with police forces increasingly occupied as front line social workers dealing with the various outcomes of alcohol abuse and mental illness it’s difficult to find sufficient police time for a concerted distracted driving campaign.
But if there is an incentive to save lives by cracking down on distracted driving there’s also a financial incentive because the province returns a portion of traffic fines to municipalities.
In Terrace, that amounted to just under $100,000 last year. Boosting that total by more fines would provide even a modest benefit to the city budget.
Editorial, The Terrace Standard, Dec. 10, 2014