Drivers still distracted despite dangers, fines: VicPD

Victoria police continue to see motorists using hand-held cellphones and other devices more than two years after B.C.'s distracted driving law became official.

Victoria officers write an average of one ticket a day to distracted drivers, said Const. Mike Russell.

"I'd like to say yes (that people are getting the message), but the reality is that's not what we're seeing," he said, adding that many motorists are still chatting or talking on hand-held phones while driving.

The legislation, brought into effect on Jan. 1, 2010 to improve road safety, carries a $167 fine. According to ICBC, motorists using cellphones are four times more likely to have a crash.

"The reality is taking that two seconds to make that phone call or make a text is really putting somebody's life in danger," said Russell, VicPD spokesperson. "It's your life, my family's life."

Police are on to those drivers who attempt to covertly make a call or send a text message while behind the wheel.

"Either you have the most interesting lap in the world, or you're actually texting," Russell said.

As long as vehicles are legally parked away from the flow of traffic, as opposed to stopped at a red light, motorists are permitted to use their phones.

"I had a guy using an iPad in the middle of Government Street and Yates (Street) at a red light with an iPad, and he said, 'Oh, I'm parked.'

"I said, 'No, you're stopped," Russell recalled.


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