BCAA reminds drivers that new cell phone law is not just about changing the
way we communicate

BURNABY, BC, Dec. 29 /CNW/ - As British Columbians ready themselves for the January 1 introduction of restrictions on cell phone use while driving, the British Columbia Automobile Association (BCAA) urges drivers to not lose sight of the reasons for the new law - to reduce distractions and improve road safety.

BCAA welcomes the new rules as a positive step in addressing the growing problem of driver distractions. The association is concerned, however, that many drivers are more focused on acquiring the equipment necessary to allow them to continue communicating behind the wheel, than on the need to keep their hands on the wheel, eyes on the road and attention focused on the complex task of driving.

"It's good to know that, come January 1, a good number of B.C. drivers will have their hands back on the wheel instead of holding a phone to their ear," says Trace Acres, BCAA Director of Corporate Communications and Government Relations. "It would be even better if, as drivers make this change, they go a step further and ask themselves if they really need to make the call at all."

Acres is confident B.C. drivers will comply with the new law. "A BCAA survey of 7,300 drivers last summer showed that over 90% supported some form of cell phone restrictions, so it appears British Columbians are ready for this law," says Acres, who adds it will still be necessary to educate drivers on the benefits of limiting talking and eliminating texting. "Jurisdictions where cell phone laws have been complemented by a sustained education and awareness effort can generally point to higher levels of compliance."

Along with urging drivers to comply with the law and limit their hands-free conversations, BCAA also encourages parents and employers to set good examples. One of the unique features of the B.C. distracted driving legislation is the complete ban on the use of mobile communications by new and novice drivers in the Graduated Licensing Program, making it all the more important for parents of young children and teen drivers to model safe driving behaviours.

BCAA also encourages employers to adopt policies to protect their employees from driver distractions. A sample employer policy and guidelines are available from the BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation at www.tsfbcaa.com/37.aspx or by calling (604) 297-2151.

About BCAA

BCAA is dedicated to meeting the needs of its members and customers throughout B.C. and the Yukon, connecting them with a team of membership, automotive and insurance professionals. With close to 790,000 members and $130 million in revenues, BCAA is the largest organization of its kind in B.C. For the past three years, BCAA has been named one the 50 Best Employers in Canada by international HR consultants Hewitt Associates and the Globe & Mail's Report on Business magazine. To learn more about BCAA's products, services and member advocacy, visit www.bcaa.com. For more information on the BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation visit www.tsf-bcaa.com.

SOURCE British Columbia Automobile Association

For further information: For further information: or to request an interview, please contact: Trace Acres, BCAA Director, Corporate Communications & Government Affairs, Tel: (604) 268-5029, Cell: (604) 788-3753, Email: trace.acres@bcaa.com

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British Columbia Automobile Association

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