Being a distracted driver is one of the riskiest moves you can make while you’re behind the wheel, and can come with some severe consequences. Every year, on average, 78 people die as a result of distracted driving in BC alone and one quarter of all accidents are results from people being distracted while operating a vehicle*. Statistics show that a distracted driver can fail to see up to 50% of their surrounding environment, are 23 times more likely to be involved in a collision while texting and 4 times as likely while talking on the phone*. Distracted driving is on the rise and has become more fatal than impaired driving as the second leading cause of death in accidents in BC behind speeding.
Putting the phone down can not only help you be a safer driver but can also help your wallet. Distracted driving fines are on the rise in BC with a first offence being $543 and 4 demerit points while a second offence will cost you $888 and a review of your driving history with a possible prohibition. Distracted driving also includes if you are stopped at a red light as your focus should still be on the road. By putting down the phone you will be safer and more aware of your surroundings.
The best way to stay safe is to put your phone down and not to touch it while you’re driving. Some tips to help you prevent in distracted driving can include
- Using a hands-free device if you need to take a call and keep the conversation short to keep your eyes on the road. (Even drivers using hands-free devices only are aware of about 50% of their surroundings when talking on the phone)
- Preprogram any GPS, music, or respond to any text messages before you get on the road
- If you need to take or make a phone call and can’t do it using a hands-free device, find somewhere safe to pull over and park to make the phone call
Additionally, in BC, drivers with their L or N cannot use any electronic device while driving, even if it is hands-free. A driver caught using an electronic device in this instance would have their license under review and face a possible prohibition. Remember to always stay safe on the road and leave the phone alone if you are driving.