Penalties for distracted driving have risen as handheld device use has become a bigger problem. (Black Press files)

No electronic devices for new drivers

No GPS or music through phone for learners, novice drivers

September was distracted driving month, and among the messages police and ICBC hammered home was new drivers are not allowed to use any electronic devices while driving.

“They are not allowed to use any electronic devices while in the car,” said Ridge Meadows RCMP Sgt. Brenda Gresiuk.

That means, she added, new drivers are not allowed to use a GPS to navigate, and they cannot even connect a phone or handheld device to their vehicle’s audio system to play music.

According to ICBC, drivers with a Learner’s (L) or Novice (N) licence aren’t allowed to use any electronic device behind the wheel, for any purpose, even in hands-free mode.

“You can’t be looking at that screen, or activating any of the functions of that phone,” added Gresiuk.

“Those are really good conversations to have with your kids, because there are big consequences.”

The entire month of September was dedicated to the the RCMP’s Distracted Driving and Occupant Restraint Campaign. Police and ICBC told the public to “take a break” from their phones, noting there are 960 crashes every day in B.C., and many are caused by distracted driving.

Police advise new drivers to turn off all electronic devices, including all hands-free options. Failure to do so could result in a $368 fine, plus four driver penalty points on their licence.

Any driver with more than three points on their driving record during a 12-month assessment period will have to pay a driver penalty point premium, so this offence means paying these premiums will bring an automatic $210 charge.

Under the graduated licensing system in B.C, drivers are typically designated as learners for at least one year, and novice drivers for two more.

During this time they are restricted in the number of passengers they can have, in their alcohol consumption while driving.

“It’s quite a long time to be in the graduated licensing program,” said Gresiuk. “And you’re supposed to know all the rules of the road.”

For drivers who have their full licence, other messaging that came out during the September campaign included a reminder that drivers are not allowed to use their cell phones at a red light – the law still applies.

Hands-free means a Bluetooth or speakerphone that can be operated with one touch, or by using voice commands.

Just Posted

Marauders to play in championship Saturday

Pitt Meadows hosting senior boys basketball tournament

Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows part of speculation and vacancy tax

Watch the mail, fill out the form, or you’ll be taxed

Another Burrard wins a field lacrosse scholarship

Cooke playing for Newbury Wolves in South Carolina

Bella is tops for Maple Ridge dogs

City’s website offers pet trivia

Maple Ridge urged to help cannabis business grow

Big dollars in processing pot, says advocate

VIDEO: U.S. Congress to probe whether Trump told lawyer Cohen to lie

At issue is a BuzzFeed News report that about negotiations over a Moscow real estate project

Rookie Demko backstops Canucks to 4-3 win over Sabres

Young Vancouver goalie makes 36 saves to turn away Buffalo

Charges upgraded against mother of murdered B.C. girl

Kerryann Lewis now faces first- rather than second-degree murder in the death of Aaliyah Rosa.

UPDATE: Injured firefighter in stable condition

Kelowna fire crews responded to a blaze at Pope’sGallery of BC Art & Photography on Friday

Book a ride on a driverless shuttle in Surrey or Vancouver

Automated vehicle demos are being offered, as the two cities plan pilot projects with the shuttles

Heavy snowfall expected on the Coquihalla

Snowfall warning in effect for the Coquihalla Highway, from Hope to Merritt

Rare ‘super blood wolf moon’ takes to the skies this Sunday

Celestial event happens only three times this century

Arrest made after historic B.C. church hit by arson

The fire at the 150-year-old Murray United Church in Merritt was considered a possible hate crime

Missing man from Crowsnest Pass could be in Lower Mainland

58-year-old Stuart David Duff was last seen on Jan. 6, 2019.

Most Read