Distracted driving by B.C. motorists in campaign crosshairs

Third highest cause of fatal crashes kills 31 a year in Lower Mainland

Police say they'll be out in force this month to ticket drivers who talk or text on hand-held devices.

Police and ICBC are launching a month-long campaign to deter distracted driving, the third leading cause of fatal car crashes in the province after speed and impaired driving.

In the Lower Mainland, driver distraction is blamed as a factor in 31 deaths a year and in 91 fatalities province-wide.

Transportation ministry officials estimate drivers are four times likelier to crash when talking on a hand-held phone while driving and 23 times more likely to be in a crash if texting.

Enforcement by officers handing out $167 fines will be stepped up throughout September, according to police.

And officials kicked off the campaign Thursday using a simulator to show the effect of distractions on a driver.

“Driving is a complex task that requires your full attention,” ICBC interim president Mark Blucher said. “When you’re distracted behind the wheel your reaction time is significantly reduced. Distracted driving is a common cause of rear-end crashes and injuries – there is no safe following distance when your mind is not on the road.”

A 2012 survey for ICBC found B.C. motorists consider texting while driving to be just as risky as drinking and driving, yet 40 per cent of those who own cellphones admit they’ve used a hand-held phone while driving.

ICBC says its statistics count use of communications or video equipment among the sources of driver distraction, along with driver inattention and other sources of internal or external distraction.

Just Posted

Second hockey academy fills up in Maple Ridge

New program at SRT has skills focus

Letters: Grizzly bears are not a food source

Whether or not the grizzly hunt is sustainable is not the issue.

Maple Ridge churches asked to help the homeless

Plan underway to offer overnight shelter to street people

Chilliwack boy drops puck at Canucks fight cancer game

Carter Johnston, 11, fighting osteosarcoma and has a growing, prosthetic leg

Maple Ridge remembers

Remembrance Day ceremony and parade in downtown Maple Ridge.

‘I will now live in consistent fear’: Allan Schoenborn granted escorted leaves

The Merritt man was deemed not criminally responsible in the killing of his three children in 2008

Hammy the deer dodges conservation officers in Prince Rupert

The famous Prince Rupert hammock deer maintains his purple threads

‘No shirt, no service, no Canada’

Shirtless Tacoma man arrested after Canadian border officials say they found meth in rental vehicle

Nasty note on B.C. windshield sparks online outrage

Vernon’s Bailey McDonald is using a painful experience to start conversation about invisible illness

Federal funding to combat guns, gangs and opioid crisis

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said illicit drugs are often main cause of guns, gangs violence

Riverview youth mental health centre proceeds

Replacement for Maples Treatment Centre first announced in March

Dead boy’s father posts Facebook response after Appeal Court upholds conviction

David, Collet Stephan were found guilty in their son Ezekiel’s 2012 death from bacterial meningitis

Pumpkin Cross bike race draws 250 riders

New course for one of Maple Ridge’s favourite sporting events

Most Read