The number of tickets issued to drivers using an electronic device has been trending downward since 2013.
While ICBC recorded 48,000 tickets to distracted drivers in 2013, that number had dropped to 39,000 by 2017. The more specific category of email or texting while driving has also been trending downward, from 1,100 contraventions in 2017 to 350 contraventions in 2017.
Looking at all categories of violations under both the Motor Vehicle Act and the Motor Vehicle Act Regulation, the total number of contraventions has dropped from 53,000 in 2013 to 43,000 in 2017, with numbers rounded up.
Distracted Driver's Beware! Throughout the month of March, police everywhere will be looking for anyone who puts their electronic device ahead of everyone's safety. Starting at $368, that LOL text will become the most expensive text you'll ever get. #yyj pic.twitter.com/K0RAedeue2— Saanich Police (@SaanichPolice) March 6, 2019
The use of personal electronic devices is the most common source of distracted driving, according to ICBC, which notes that on average 77 people die every year in crashes where distracted driving appears as a contributing factor. Distracting driving bears responsibility for more than one-quarter of (27 per cent) of all car crash fatalities in British Columbia.
Studies show drivers talking on their cellphone fail to recognize about 50 per cent of what is going on around them, and are five times more likely to crash.
British Columbia banned the use of hand-held personal electronic devices while driving in 2010.
The penalty for one distracted driving ticket is a fine of $368 and four points for a total of $578.