Lori Barillaro

Lori Barillaro

Texting while driving still epidemic

The Art of Driving School has brought the red no-texting bands to Chilliwack, one of the first to do so.

When it comes to safe driving, the advent of the smart phone has changed everything.

Just ask Art of Driving School owner Lori Barillaro.

She’s out driving the Chilliwack streets all day, schooling people in a range of safe driving techniques.

Texting while driving is still a dangerous and perennial problem.

“I see people coming towards me, crossing the centre line by a foot or so,” Barillaro says. “As I get closer I see it’s because they’re on the phone.”

Enter the bright red anti-texting band, Buckle UR Phone, devised by a U.S. teenager and her brother on the eastern seaboard who were concerned about traffic fatalities caused by texting drivers.

Barillaro brought the no-texting bands to Chilliwack.

The Art of Driving is proud to be the first driving school in Canada to make it part of the driver education program, she said.

The red band is meant to be placed on a thumb as a visual cue, or on a key chain.

Her students sign a pledge not to text and drive, are given one of the red bands, and a No-texting sticker to put on the dash.

“Not only do kids and new drivers need to be educated about it, they need a reminder.”

Not all kids want to wear the red no-texting band on their thumbs.

“But if they won’t wear it we say to at least put it on a key chain, that way they can still see the red ring and be reminded.”

It’s important, because distracted driving is a leading cause of car crash fatalities in B.C.

One quarter of all fatal crashes in B.C. from 2007 to 2011 were related to distracted driving, according to police statistics. In 2012, it was 30 per cent.

The most interesting thing about this is that it’s one of the simplest problems of all to solve.

“Just put your phone away,” says Mike Weightman, Lower Mainland road safety coordinator for ICBC.

If you can’t help yourself, stash it in the trunk.

“Concentrate on driving from A to B first, then make that call or text.”

He’s even got some advice for parents.

“So the kids have phones and they’re out driving. Sometimes their parents will text them, but that can be adding to the problem. We tell folks that if your kids are en route somewhere, don’t even try to contact them.”

Despite the simplicity of it, the message is hard to get across.

They’re seeing the texting and driving habit entrenched among drivers of all ages and genders.

“People need to step up to the plate and do the right thing,” says Weightman. “What is alarming is that distracted driving and cell phone use become a more common cause of traffic fatalities than impaired driving.”

And it’s a phenomenon across the Western world, not just B.C.

It works out to an average of 94 deaths per year, making distracted driving the

third-leading cause of motor vehicle fatalities in B.C., behind speeding and impaired driving.

So it’s perfect timing.

The entire month of February sees the annual Distracted Driving campaign underway by RCMP, where drivers can expected stepped up enforcement across the province.

Since legislation was passed, banning the use of handheld devices in 2010, police have written a whopping 105,972 tickets.

“In the month of February police across B.C. will be targeting drivers who operate vehicles while using a handheld device,” says Cpl. Robert McDonald of BC RCMP Traffic Services.

A little known fact is that Graduated License Program drivers (L and N drivers) are not permitted any use of electronic devices, including hands-free devices.

It’s all about increased danger.

Drivers who are seen breaking the rules of the road while on their phone can be hit with a ticket for Driving without Due Care and Attention, which comes with a fine of $368.

Offences that put others at risk, including speeding, unsafe lane changes, following too closely, failing to obey traffic control device will trigger the increased penalty.

“Holding a cell phone in your hand on speaker phone is an offence under the Motor Vehicle Act of Using an Electronic Device While Driving and could result in a fine of $167.

“This also applies to leaving the cell phone on your console and typing while stopped in traffic.”

Safer driving tips from ICBC:

• Make any calls before you get in the vehicle;

• Set a reminder with free ringtones at icbc.com/


• Pull over to make/receive a call;

• Let voice mail pick up since it’s safer to retrieve voice mails and text

messages later; and

• Let passengers make/receive calls/texts for the driver. Or switch seats and let the passenger drive if you’re expecting a text or call.



Just Posted

Robin Sanford and her fiance Simon Park were married in an impromptu ceremony at Abbotsford Regional Hospital on June 16. (Submitted photo)
Mom dies day after witnessing daughter’s hospital wedding in Abbotsford

Nurses help arrange impromptu ceremony in 3 hours for bride and groom

Alexis Paige Simpson has not been in contact with her family in two months. (RCMP photo)
UPDATE: Chilliwack RCMP looking for missing 20-year-old woman

Parents of Alexis Paige Simpson provide corrected information in missing person report

(Pixabay Image)
Monday’s top temperature topples record in Agassiz

Temps reached into the low 30s to break records in Agassiz, Environment Canada says

BC Wildfire Service (Black Press Media files)
Fire at Eleven Mile Creek near Hope classified as out of control

It’s a small blaze so far at 20 hectares, but firefighters don’t yet have a handle on it

A drone’s-eye view of the Agassiz-Rosedale Bridge. (Screenshot/Shutter Speed Network)
Kent Council advocates for a wider Agassiz-Rosedale Bridge

Council voted unanimously to send letter of concern to transportation ministry

A person stands in a tower on the perimeter of the Number 3 Detention Center in Dabancheng in western China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region on April 23, 2021. Human rights groups and Western nations led by the United States, Britain and Germany accused China of massive crimes against the Uyghur minority and demanded unimpeded access for U.N. experts at a virtual meeting on Wednesday, May 12, 2021 denounced by China as “politically motivated” and based on “lies.” THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Mark Schiefelbein
VIDEO: Trudeau demands truth from China about Uyghurs

PM says Canada has admitted broken Indigenous relationship, unlike China on Uyghurs

Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran, middle right, participates in a ribbon-cutting ceremony in honour of the launch of Kelowna’s plasma donor centre at Orchard Plaza Mall on June 22. From left to right: Canadian Blood Services’ business development manager Janna Pantella, Canadian Blood Services’ operational excellence manager Tyler Burke, Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran and Canadian Blood Services’ centre manager Janine Johns. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
B.C.’s first dedicated plasma donor centre opens in Kelowna

The Kelowna location is the third dedicated plasma donor to open in Canada

Children walk with their parents to Sherwood Park Elementary in North Vancouver for the first day back to school on Sept. 10, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Study reassures parents, teachers that COVID-19 infrequently shared at school

Federally funded study in Vancouver finds risk in the classroom and in the community identical

Conservative MP Kevin Waugh rises during Question Period in the House of Commons Tuesday April 13, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Single-game sports betting about to become legal in Canada

Senate passes bill to take sports gambling away from overseas agencies

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Point Roberts is part of the mainland United States but not physically connected to it, to reach the community by land one must pass through Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Closed Canadian border leaves Point Roberts’ only grocery store on verge of closure

‘We’re Americans but we’re not attached to America. It’s easy to forget we’re here,’ says owner Ali Hayton

Health Minister Adrian Dix announced in December that Surrey’s new hospital will be located in Cloverdale, next to KPU. (File photo: Malin Jordan)
Health minister expects construction of Surrey’s new hospital in Cloverdale to begin in 2023, open in 2027

Adrian Dix spoke Tuesday in a Zoom meeting hosted by the Surrey Board of Trade concerning the new hospital

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson with Premier John Horgan after the budget speech Tuesday, April 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. home owner grant won’t be altered, despite expert advice

Tax break for residences worth up to $1.6 million too popular

B.C. conservation officer Sgt. Todd Hunter said a black bear is believed to have killed local livestock. (THE NEWS/files)
Black bear believed to have killed miniature donkey in Maple Ridge

Trap set for predator that has been killing livestock

Most Read