ICBC to Test App that Blocks Phone Use While Driving in B.C.

Distracted driving

The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) and the province are testing two new technologies to prevent the use of cell phones while driving i.e. a smart phone app for drivers and a camera for police officers, CBC News reports. ICBC is looking for 200 volunteers to sign up for the three-month pilot, which is set to start in January in B.C. 

“ICBC looked at the apps that were available on the market, stand-alone apps, and felt that they were insufficient to ensure that people were not using their phone while they were driving,” said Attorney General David Eby on Tuesday. He says ICBC has chosen instead to move forward with a pilot project involving an app that pairs with a plug-in device in a driver’s vehicle.

“The telematics device will tell the app that they’re driving and basically it will lock out hand-held use of their phone based on the fact that they’re driving,” said Mark Milner, a road safety program manager at ICBC.

ICBC will be surveying drivers throughout the pilot to see what the experience is like and whether it is effective at preventing them from picking up their phones. If pilot project proves successful, the province says it could lead to setting new, fairer rates for drivers.

At the same time, a $14,500 scope or camera will also be tested, that police officers will attach to either a smartphone or tablet to take pictures of drivers who are using their phones behind the wheel and then send that image to another police officer who can pull the distracted driver over. 

The Attorney General highlighted that the whole point of of this initiative is to drive down the number of collisions, to prevent the number of accidents, and to save lives.