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Police remind residents of the dangers of distracted driving

This September, B.C. police will be conducting intensified distracted driving enforcement across the province.

B.C. RCMP said that officers participate in the Distracted Driving and Occupant Restraint enforcement campaign every September and March

“Fatal and serious injury motor vehicle collisions due to distracted driving are completely preventable and B.C. RCMP Traffic Services is reminding drivers to keep your eyes on the road and your hands upon the wheel,” said police.

According to provincial data, 25% of all car crash fatalities can be blamed on distracted driving, which is the second leading cause of fatal collisions in B.C.

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On average, 76 people die in fatal motor vehicle collisions every year in B.C. because the driver was distracted or not paying attention.

Police said distracted driving is more than just using an electronic device, it also includes distractions such as personal grooming, eating or drinking, reading, pets, other passengers and not knowing your route.

“We have all seen this type of driver: The one who can’t maintain a steady speed, can’t maintain their lane, stops well short of the stop line (or fails to stop altogether) and the ones who remain stopped even though other traffic has started moving,” said the B.C . RCMP. “Driving while distracted may cause your trip to end in tragedy for you or someone else. Please don’t be that driver!”

Fines for distracted driving can start at $368 plus 4 penalty points and a $252 driver penalty premium assessed by ICBC for a minimum of $620 for a first offence.

“It all starts with you,” said Supt. Holly Turton, Officer in Charge of BC RCMP Traffic Services. “Ask yourself if it is worth your life or someone else’s to answer a call, check your email or send that text while you are driving. Please make the right choice when you drive – ignore your phone and drive responsibly – your life may depend on it – and others may depend on you to get to your destination safely.”

Police across the province are stepping up distracted driving enforcement for the month and beyond, working with partners in road safety, ICBC and RoadSafetyBC.

According to police, seatbelt compliance is generally quite high in the province, but 52 people are killed on average every year in collisions that may have been survivable if seatbelts have been used.

Occupant restraints are important to all occupants of a vehicle, including children, who should be secured in an approved infant or child seat, appropriate to age and height.

“Police recommend that you always buckle up even if you are going short distances – seatbelts and airbags work together to protect you and the occupants of your car. The fine for not wearing a seatbelt is $167,” said the B.C. RCMP.

Police are asking all drivers to wear seatbelts and leave electronic devices alone when driving for their own safety and that of others.

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