Distracted driving is still a problem on B.C.'s roads

BURNABY, BC, Jan. 31 /CNW/ - Distracted driving is still a serious problem on B.C.'s roads despite the institution of new laws a year ago banning the use of handheld communication devices while driving a vehicle.

"It's unbelievable that there are still a large number of drivers out there that talk and text while driving.  They are putting theirs and others lives in danger and that is unacceptable," says Allan Lamb, executive director of the BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation.

The use of a personal communication device has become part of our daily life.  We use them for professional and personal purposes.  The BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation recognizes this and has advice for drivers about safe driving practices.

The safest practice is to not to use a cellphone or any other electronic communication device (hand held or hands-free) while driving.  Pull off to the side of the road in a safe location to make a call, text, respond to a message or access the internet. Turning off your cellphone reduces the chance of distraction.

The message for parents is to be a good role model for your teen driver.  Create a Family Contract that makes it a condition of your teenager's driving privileges that they will not talk or text while driving.  And make sure that they see you practicing this when you drive.

Motor vehicle incidents are one of the major causes of worker deaths in BC and injuries due to car crashes result in lost productivity. The foundation advises employers to develop and enforce a safe driving policy stating that employees must not use any electronic communications devices while they drive on company time.

"This policy is intended for use by companies and organizations whose employees drive as part of their job description," explained Lamb.  "There are many businesses in this province that operate fleets of vehicles and they will need to address this issue with their employees."

For a sample employer safe driving policy or a copy of the family contract for teen drivers, visit the "Hot Topics" and "Young Drivers" sections on the BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation website at www.BCAATSF.ca.

The law, as of January 1, 2010, prohibits drivers from:

  • Operating or holding hand-held cellphones or other electronic devices.
  • Sending or reading emails and/or texting (e.g., BlackBerry, PDA, cellphone).
  • Operating or holding hand-held music or portable gaming devices (e.g., MP3 players, iPods).
  • Manually programming or adjusting GPS systems, whether built into the vehicle or not, while driving. Settings must be programmed before driving.

Only hands-free cell phones and devices that require one touch to activate will be permitted.

Drivers in the Graduated Licensing Program are prohibited from using all prescribed devices including hands-free cell phones.

Drivers in violation of the law will receive $167 fine, and drivers caught texting or emailing will receive three penalty points in addition to the fine. GLP drivers will receive the $167 fine and three penalty points for any violation of this legislation.

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About BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation

The BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation is a non-profit registered charity working with families, communities and business partners to reduce the number and severity of traffic crashes and injuries in B.C. For more information visit www.BCAATSF.ca or call 604-298-5107.


URL for this media release is: http://www.tsfbcaa.com/content/custompages/news.aspx

SOURCE BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation

For further information:

Lennea Durant  Allan Lamb
Media Relations  Executive Director
BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation          BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation
Tel: 604-875-1182  Tel: 604-297-2151
E-mail: lenneadurant@shaw.ca E-mail: allan.lamb@tsf-bcaa.com

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