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ICBC, police remind drivers to 'take a break' from phones

Every year, on average, 29 people are killed in distracted driving-related crashes in the Southern Interior. — Submitted photo

Since 2014, more than one in four fatal crashes on B.C. roads have involved distracted driving, which is why ICBC and police continue to combat this dangerous driving behaviour that claims 76 lives each year.*

This month, drivers will be hearing one message – take a break from your phone when you're behind the wheel. Not only is it dangerous, but the costs can add up quickly.

"Distracted driving continues to be a serious issue in our province – it's the number one cause of crashes,” said Chief Constable Neil Dubord, Chair of the BC Association of Chiefs of Police Traffic Safety Committee.

“Police officers see distracted drivers on the roads in every community. We are stepping up efforts making sure people leave their phones alone while driving."

One distracted driving ticket is $368 plus four penalty points ($252) for a total of $620. And this number vastly increases to more than $2,500 if you get a second distracted driving ticket within 12 months. Yet tough penalties haven't deterred some drivers, with an average of 1,335 drivers receiving multiple tickets every year.**

Every year, on average, 29 people are killed in distracted driving-related crashes in the Southern Interior.

Drivers who want to save your money for something more fun, remember to leave your phone alone while driving.

Police across B.C. are ramping up distracted driving enforcement during March, and community volunteers are setting up Cell Watch deployments to remind drivers to leave their phone alone. The campaign also features advertising and social media support.

Drivers can do their part by avoiding distractions while driving and encouraging others to do the same. Activate Apple's Do Not Disturb While Driving feature or what's similarly available on other devices.

Free 'not while driving' decals are available at ICBC driver licensing offices and participating Autoplan broker offices for drivers to support the campaign and encourage other road users to leave their phones alone.

You can get tips and statistics in an infographic at icbc.com.

*Police data from 2014 to 2018. Distraction: where one or more of the vehicles involved had contributing factors including use of communication/video equipment, driver inattentive and driver internal/external distraction.

**Annual average based on 2016 to 2018 ICBC data.