John Petty

John Petty

March is Distracted Driving Awareness Month

RCMP ask drivers to leave their phones alone.

Ridge Meadows RCMP and ICBC are reminding drivers not to use handheld electronic devices while driving as part of a March campaign to increase road safety.

“In cooperation with the B.C. Association of the Chiefs of Police, March has been designated as Distracted Driving Awareness month,.

According to ICBC statistics, distracted driving is responsible for about 25 per cent of all vehicle crash fatalities in the province, an average of 81 deaths a year.

“With so many citizens having to stay connected, distracted driving has now moved ahead of impaired driving as one of the leading causes of fatal collisions.

“Most drivers understand that using their phone increases their risk of crashing, yet many still do it,” said Kate Woochuk, local ICBC road safety coordinator. “It’s time we all commit to leaving our phones alone and staying focused when we’re behind the wheel.”

Throughout the month, police will be out on local roads to both educate and enforce the laws surrounding distracted driving.

“Roadways are very dynamic environments with situations and circumstances that can change rapidly,” Ridge Meadows RCMP Cpl. Brenda Winpenny said.

“By taking your eyes off the road for even a moment, you increase the chance of a collision. There are no messages or phone calls that are so important that you need to endanger yourself or others.”

The fine for using an electronic device without hands-free while driving is $167. In addition to the fine, all drivers caught texting or emailing may receive three driver penalty points.

“Please, when driving leave the phone alone.”