RCMP to focus on Distracted Driving

Cst. Patti Evans

Acting Detachment Commander, Gabriola RCMP

Wednesday, March 4 2020

March is Distracted Driving and Occupant Restraint month in BC, and Gabriola RCMP will be conducting patrols to ensure that drivers are not operating vehicles while using cell phones or electronic devices, and that all occupants are safely buckled in while vehicles are in motion. Distracted driving is the second leading contributing factor in traffic fatalities, behind speed and ahead of impaired driving.

 You can be considered distracted if you are driving while using a cellphone, having a loose dog in your lap or arms, eating or drinking, listening to audio while wearing both earbuds, or performing personal grooming like shaving or putting on makeup. Not sure why any of these things would be a good idea, as driving requires concentration, the ability to react quickly, and is a privilege as well as a great responsibility. 

The fine for a single distracted driving violation is $368, along with 4 penalty points on a driver’s record, resulting in a further $252 ICBC Driver Penalty Point Premium for a total of $620 for a first infraction. This amount increases substantially for each additional conviction within a three year period, and any driver that has more than one conviction within 12 months will have their driving records reviewed by RoadSafety BC, potentially resulting in a 3-12 month prohibition. 

Seat belts save lives and it is your responsibility as a driver and/or vehicle owner to ensure that all occupants are properly restrained before you start driving. If you are driving with small children, make sure they are securely fastened into the correct size and type of child car seat, such as a rear-facing, forward-facing, or booster seat, depending on their age, height and weight. Both BCAA and ICBC have great resources available on their websites, or you can find brochures at Gabriola RCMP. If you see a distracted driver while you are driving, note the location, licence plate, make of vehicle and any other details, and report it to the Gabriola RCMP by phone at 250-247-8333 once you find a safe place to stop and call, or have a passenger call for you.