SURREY – The February 2012 distracted driving enforcement blitz conducted by the RCMP Lower Mainland District Traffic Services was a lucrative affair as police handed out over four thousand tickets.
The month-long push to reduce distracted driving actually resulted in 4449 tickets being handed out for the use of electronic devices alone, nearly double from the same time period in 2011 when 2300 tickets were issued.
“I am extremely disappointed in these results as it shows that drivers aren’t taking the dangers of using handheld devices while driving seriously,” said Superintendent Norm Gaumont, Officer in Charge of all traffic services in RCMP jurisdictions across the lower mainland. “It just means that we must continue delivering the message and educating the public on how dangerous distracted driving really is. They are putting the lives of others and their own at risk by not paying attention to the road. Traffic patterns change very quickly especially in an urban centre as there is no time to put down your phone and react to the change.”
Distracted driving was a contributing factor to 27 fatalities in 2011, although down from the 46 in 2010, it is far too many from something that is completely avoidable.
Other high-rated traffic violations during the enforcement blitz included 3516 speeding tickets, 2550 for not wearing or misusing a seatbelt and 2164 intersection infractions, for example running red lights or turning left on a red light.
Drivers are reminded that if they need to make a phone call on a cellular phone or check email, they are advised to use a hands free device, or pull their vehicle over.
The fine for using an electronic device without hands-free while driving is $167. Moreover, drivers caught texting or emailing may receive 3 Driver Penalty Points (DPP) in addition to the fine.
Drivers in the Graduated Licensing Program (GLP) are not permitted to use any prescribed electronic device, even if it is hands-free. GLP drivers will receive the $167 fine and 3 DPP for violating the Distracted Driving Legislation.