Seems like a lot of Chilliwack motorists just don’t get it.
They continue to use their phone while driving.
A recent six-hour blitz by Chilliwack RCMP resulted in 39 tickets issued at four different locations.
There is no reason for this. The technology exists so calls can be made or taken, hands free.
And yet, the problem continues.
Distracted driving is now the second leading cause of car crashes in the province, police say, and contributes to 88 deaths annually. That’s roughly 28 per cent of all car crash fatalities in B.C.
Efforts to curb the carnage have resulted in stiffer fines, and aggressive policing campaigns like the one we saw on Chilliwack streets last month.
If you are caught using a hand-held device while driving (or even at a red light or stuck in traffic) you’ll pay $167, and earn three penalty points against your licence.
New drivers, or those with a learner’s licence, are prohibited from using any electronic device – even hands free.
But the rules run even deeper than that. Workers who are injured in an accident caused by their distracted driving may not be entitled to compensation. And employers who encourage, or turn a blind eye to distracted driving may be found at fault by WorkSafe BC.
The rules are clear, but it will take more than stiff penalties and rigorous enforcement to change behaviour.
We need an attitude adjustment. This is an issue about safety – ours and those around us. Smart phones are amazing devices, capable of amazing things. But too many people are discovering they also have the potential to cause great harm.