Talking on a cellphone makes a driver four times as likely to be in a crash

New crackdown aims to curb distracted drivers

Cellphone talking or texting third top crash cause after speeding, drinking

ICBC and police are revving up their campaign against distracted driving, saying it’s now the third leading cause of car crash fatalities in B.C.

Enforcement is being stepped up for the Labour Day weekend and officers will be checking for distracted drivers throughout September.

The crackdown came as a new Ipsos Reid poll was released showing 40 per cent of cellphone owners admit they’ve recently used their hand-held phone while driving despite overwhelming acceptance distracted driving is risky, especially texting.

“The ability to connect with anyone at any time through our mobile phones has led to a serious problem on our roads,” Justice Minister Shirley Bond said.

Police say many drivers try to hide their mobile devices from view by using them from their laps but officers will use a variety of tactics to bust them and hand out $167 fines.

The poll shows cellphone use behind the wheel in the past six months is much higher among younger B.C. drivers –  52 per cent of 18- to 25-year-olds, 48 per cent of 26- to 50-year-olds, 29 per cent of 51- to 65-year-olds and 17 per cent of seniors.

A quarter of all fatal crashes in B.C. are linked to distracted driving – about 94 deaths per year – making it the third top cause after speeding and impaired driving.

ICBC also cited U.S. findings that drivers who talk on hand-held cellphones are four times more likely to crash, and 23 times more likely to crash if texting.

Free downloadable ringtones designed to encourage drivers to resist the urge to answer the phone are being offered by ICBC. The tunes (available at icbc.com/drivesmart) span various genres and include “Road of No Replies,” “Missed Call Master” and “Let it Ring, Baby.”

Just Posted

TONIGHT: Team Canada’s road to the Olympic Games kicks off in South Surrey

Team Canada will play Cuba at 7:30 p.m., Softball City

Young South Surrey soccer player follows dream to England

Hugo Patel Thompson, 13, hopes to one day play for Chelsea

City Dream Centres hands out 1,000 backpacks at back to school event in Surrey

This is the fifth year the charity is hosting the event in the city

Securing Olympic spot the latest test for Canadian softball squad at Surrey tournament

Softball hasn’t been included in the Games since 2008 when Canada finished fourth in Beijing

VIDEO: Ride to Conquer Cancer rolls into Hope

Thousands of cyclist descend on small town for annual cancer fundraiser

VIDEO: Ride to Conquer Cancer rolls into Hope

Thousands of cyclist descend on small town for annual cancer fundraiser

B.C. VIEWS: Pipelines set to roll as federal politicians posture

Projects to drive B.C., Canadian economy in years ahead

B.C. Lions fall to 1-9 after 13-10 loss to Ticats

Lowly Leos have dropped six straight CFL contests

VIDEO: B.C. woman meets biological mother, 38 years later

Mother never gave up hope of finding daughter, despite all the obstacles

B.C. man who died after rescuing swimmer was known for helping others

Shaun Nugent described as a dad, a coach, a hero and ‘stand-up guy’ at celebration of life

B.C. RCMP plane chases fleeing helicopter as part of major cross-border drug bust

The helicopter eventually landed at a rural property near Chilliwack

Border crossings across Lower Mainland seeing lengthy delays

Sumas, Peace Arch and Surrey-Blaine border crossings seeing long wait times

Thousands cycle to conquer cancer

The 11th annual Ride to Conquer Cancer took place Saturday morning, Aug. 24 in Surrey, B.C.

Most Read