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RCMP in British Columbia Begin Distracted Driving Enforcement Blitz

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According to a new report from CBC News, RCMP officers in British Columbia have started a distracted driving enforcement blitz.

If you are a driver that is caught using an electronic device twice within a three-year span, you will be charged $2,000. Throughout the month of March, police officers across the province are stepping up enforcement of this law. Supt. Davis Wendell said:

“We’re taking a no-nonsense approach to it. We know that it’s dangerous. We know it costs lives, and we’re taking action.

If people are still choosing to be irresponsible and risk everyone else’s lives with [electronic devices], we’re going to use whatever means we have at our disposal.”

On March 1st the ICBC’s new penalties have come into effect, which includes an additional $740 cost on top of previous penalties. This puts premiums $2,000 above regular insurance premiums.

The ICBC is now running a pilot program with a total of 139 volunteers that tests new telematics technology that would stop a drivers phone from working if they are operating a vehicle. The use of the technology is still up in the air, and heavily pending the results of the pilot program.

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  • xxxJDxxx

    Perhaps then police should also be doing their jobs without using cellphones, laptops and radios while driving? Something I see regularly.

  • John McClane

    Hello,

    I’m using my iPhone as a GPS system. Does anybody know if this is considered as distracted driving?

    Thanks in advance!

  • raslucas

    This is actually very true… I don’t think the police receive some think of special training that allows them to drive while distracted without causing a security concern.

  • Mike

    If you’re programming your destination while you’re driving, that counts.

    If you have it on a mount and you’re just glancing at it, that’s legal. Just don’t touch it.

  • tomm

    what’s the difference between touching the phone and touching a radio which has been legal for the last 50 years or more? And how can they prove that you touched a phone in a mount? Do they have to show picture in court? A phone in a mount is legal, no?

  • xxxJDxxx

    If they do receive some kind of special training that makes them capable of the arduous task of using a phone while driving then perhaps that training should be applied to all drivers at time of licensing?

  • RickysCV

    There is no ‘special training’ that makes distracted driving lessen. The driver’s eyes are off the road, their brain is focussed on their computer screen and they are supposedly in control of a moving vehicle. People have been killed in accidents involving police officers crashing into them: Officers who were distracted while looking at their mounted laptops as they drove. One way to make that situation safer would be to have two person patrol cars. One would drive and the other would be in charge of communications. It would cost more but be way safer for both the public and the officers. But in a one person patrol car, it is not safe for anyone when the driver is fiddling with a computer as the vehicle is moving.

  • raslucas

    Ok, the pedestrians should take it upon themselves to ensure that their streets are safe from the unsafe roads caused by police officers as well.

  • raslucas

    We all have good camera phones.

  • raslucas

    Oh, fiddling with a radio can definitely count as distracted driving if you are doing it for an extended amount of time.

    Generally changing radio is a one-touch action but if it ends up being a whole session you can definitely get fined for it.

    Like I said, the cops made it so general, I don’t think they totally realize how much is applies to
    them as well.

  • raslucas

    They must not realize they are the worst perpetrators of this crime… else they wouldn’t want to charge $2000 every time they commit this crime.

  • raslucas

    I also don’t understand. If they don’t receive special training, and police officers are committing crime every day, why shouldn’t anyone else follow laws?

  • Jason Bjerke

    Not that i agree, but here is the language in regards to emergency personnel

    Exceptions to prohibition — emergency personnel
    214.3 Section 214.2 does not apply to the following persons who use an electronic device while carrying out their powers, duties or functions:

    (a) a peace officer;

    (b) a person driving or operating an ambulance as defined in the Emergency Health Services Act;

    (c) fire services personnel as defined in the Fire Services Act.

  • StarTurtle

    Saw some great work at an intersection where officers were walking up behind cars at a red light and looking in through windows seeing if people were using their phones. Surprised me at first but rolled down the window and said keep up the great work!

  • xxxJDxxx

    I wasn’t disputing the legality of it but the logic. If this is such a deadly public safety risk when done by a citizen how is it ok when done by police or other emergency personnel? Logically it makes no sense.

  • xxxJDxxx

    Ticketing people stopped at Red lights is the worst type of enforcement. The “low hanging fruit” if you will. The least dangerous but easiest to catch.

  • StarTurtle

    Agreed easiest way to not get caught is don’t do it. Missed a few left turn advance lights cuz people had their heads trying to fit in an extra smiley face.

  • chickeee

    They are distracted driving but the law does not apply to them. Not criminal but dangerous. Or not dangerous if they do it but dangerous if you do it. Because Police.

  • chickeee

    $2000

  • BeaveVillage

    We use our phones as GPS systems, and you will never ticket me for checking my destination. It is NO different than changing the temperature in the car, changing the radio station, opening the sunroof.

    These DD laws are out of control and totally stupid. A person stopped safely at a red light, not moving, is the least hazardous person on the road, yet you ticket them? Get a life.

    It is a pure money grab. Pure.

  • My 1/2 cents

    You realize the police, especially RCMP are not bound by any rules per se. This legislation is present and only serves as nothing more than optics.

  • My 1/2 cents

    Icbc has been shown to exaggerate the number of claims caused by distracted driving.

    In any event, this looks good on paper but it’s just another example of optics.

    Unless there’s a distracted driving blitz, police are too busy to apprehend distracted drivers. Besides, people still eat, talk, argue, and play with their audio systems while driving. In many other countries people still text and drive…then again, they tend to be better drivers in general than those in Canada.

  • Mike

    I’m not saying the rule makes sense, I’m saying, don’t touch it if you want to be sure you don’t get a ticket. Cops seem to use their judgement and I don’t think they’re required to show proof in court. Their witness of the act is proof, as far as I understand it.

    They actually can give you a ticket for touching your radio if they feel you’re distracted. Distracted driving doesn’t always mean touching a device. They can give you a ticket for eating a sandwich in the car too if they want to.

  • tomm

    That sounds pretty unconstitutional. What happened to presumption of innocence until proven guilty? I think we’ll see a whole bunch of new lawsuits. I’d fight a ticket for drinking coffe or water or eating a sandwich – especially without a proof. Breathing could be distracted driving too. What about meditation?

  • Mike

    I’m no expert, so I can’t comment. But these types of driving infractions are not criminal charges, so, I don’t think the same rules apply in court as murder or theft.

    I think an officers written statement that says “I saw him eating a sandwich” is enough for a judge to say it happened.

    And please don’t meditate while driving. I don’t wanna die.

  • tomm

    Haha

  • Quattro

    Neither does drinking and driving, but a huge number of cops do it all the time. Just park yourself outside an annual golf tournament or something and watch them stagger to their cars. Wouldn’t it be sweet if citizens could force cops to take a breathalyzer test.

  • Quattro

    Saw cops checking in Victoria yesterday. One would hide behind bushes and then sneak out and walk between cars stopped at a traffic light, looking in the windows from behind – so he wouldn’t be noticed. Then radio ahead to a cluster of cops a half block ahead, waiting to pull over whoever the first cop marked.

    As much as I hate distracted drivers, I think there should be some leniency at stop lights. So this was essentially a money grab, in my opinion.

  • Riddlemethis

    It’s an easy money grab…nothing more. Where is the enforcement on people driving with their taillights off at night? Aggressive drivers?

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