Maryellen Trudeau (left) and Monica Pozzola are volunteers with the Victoria Police Department. They’re helping spread awareness about distracted driving as police forces across the Capital Region crack down on people using cellphones while driving. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)

ICBC, police target distracted drivers in the Capital Region

More than 70 people die per year as a result of distracted driving

Police, volunteers and ICBC co-ordinators were stationed at busy intersections across the Capital Regional District Wednesday morning to target distracted drivers.

The province-wide education and enforcement campaign happens every March and September, but ICBC road safety co-ordinator Colleen Woodger said it’s still a huge issue.

“Over one in four fatal crashes in B.C. involved distracted driving, so we’re seeing about 77 people per year dying as a result of this,” she said. “More people are dying of distracted driving than they are from impaired driving.”

ALSO READ: Tougher penalties for distracted drivers in B.C.

Woodger said that despite the huge effort from the province, ICBC and local police departments, people continue to use their phones while driving.

“I think they’re getting more crafty, honestly,” Woodger said. “Crashes hit an all-time high in 2017 so there’s still a lot of work to be done, I think it needs to be a priority.”

Victoria Police Department spokesperson Const. Matt Rutherford said anyone caught driving while using their cellphone gets a $368 fine and four penalty points on their license.

ALSO READ: B.C. defends distracted driving crackdown

“It’s quite an expensive ticket,” Rutherford said. “Yesterday our traffic officers were out for five hours and wrote 28 of those tickets, so it’ still a major issue and people need to just leave their phones and not be distracted while they’re driving.”

Police will be stationed at intersections from the Peninsula to Sooke throughout March.

Additionally, volunteers and reserve officers will be conducting cell watch surveys to educate people at high-crash intersections.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com


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