Vehicles stopped in queue at a drive-thru in Parksville on March 10, 2021. (Mandy Moraes photo)

Vehicles stopped in queue at a drive-thru in Parksville on March 10, 2021. (Mandy Moraes photo)

Island drivers, keep your eyes off the cell phone in the drive-thru

Vancouver Island police ramp up patrols to hunt for distracted drivers

Ever had the urge to check your cellphone notifications while waiting in a drive-thru lane?

That could be one expensive cup of Timmy’s.

It is illegal to use your phone at a drive-thru, since the Motor Vehicle Act considers parking lots and drive-thrus as part of the roadway and still subject to enforcement. According to the B.C. Highway Patrol, it could cost you a distracted driving fine of $368.

Black Press Media contacted the highway patrol after a reader in Parksville reported spotting a police officer with a telephoto lens watching drivers in a lineup. Sgt. Robert Haney said that no violation tickets were handed out, just a warning. But technically speaking the drivers got lucky.

“If the wheels are rotating, it is an offence,” he said. “If your wheels are not rotating and you’re in park, you can use your cellphone all day long. But as soon as your wheels rotate, you can’t even have it in your hand. Because then it becomes a problem.”

READ MORE: Victoria police hand out nearly $17,000 in distracted driving tickets in five hours

March is designated as Distracted Driving Awareness Month and police across the province are ramping up patrols to check for inattentive and distracted drivers.

Haney said approximately 40 tickets have already been issued since the beginning of the month to distracted drivers in the Parksville Qualicum Beach area. Last year, from January to December, 118 tickets were issued for the use of cellphones while driving.

“It’s rampant out here,” said Haney, noting that one of his officers issued 12 tickets in a single day alone.

“People see us in our marked police vehicles – and what’s worse than using it in their hand, they put it in their lap and look down. Then they’re not even looking at the road. They figure if we see them driving with it in their hands, they’re going to get charged,” he said.

“It’s a divided attention test when you’re driving a motor vehicle because your brain is doing numerous things at the same time.”

As outlined by the Motor Vehicle Act, the fine amount for a distracted driving offence is $368, along with four penalty points.

ICBC issued a press release on Feb. 25 that stated, on average, 10 people are killed every year in distracted driving-related crashes on Vancouver Island. This claim was based on police data gathered between 2015 and 2019.

According to ICBC statistics gathered from 2019, the most recent data available, 28 per cent of crashes caused by distracted driving were fatal, second only to speeding at 30 per cent, and greater than impaired driving by seven per cent.

In ICBC’s Graduated Licensing Program, class 5 or 7 (L and N) drivers cannot use any personal electronic devices while operating a vehicle, even with a hands-free system.

For more news from Vancouver Island and beyond delivered daily into your inbox, please click here.

mandy.moraes@pqbnews.com

READ MORE: Tips for drivers: What counts as distracted driving?

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter 

distracted drivingParksvillequalicum beachRCMP

Just Posted

Two men were seen removing red dresses alongside the Island Highway in Oyster Bay. (Submitted photo)
Two men filmed removing red dresses from trees in Oyster Bay

Activists hung the dresses to raise awareness for Vancouver Island Murdered/Missing Women & Girls

Naloxone is used to treat opioid overdoses. (Black Press Media files)
Island Health issues overdose advisory for Greater Victoria

The advisory directs bystanders to an overdose to call 911 and administer naloxone

John Albert Buchanan was found guilty of manslaughter in the 2017 death of Richard Sitar. Pictured here, Buchanan walking to the court in Nanaimo last year. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Six years including time served for Nanaimo man in bludgeoning death

John Albert Buchanan sentenced in B.C. Supreme Court in Nanaimo for death of Richard Sitar

Facebook screenshot of the sea lion on Holberg Road. (Greg Clarke Facebook video)
VIDEO: Sea lion randomly spotted on remote North Island logging road

Greg Clarke was driving home on the Holberg Road April 12, when he saw a large sea lion.

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., Monday, April 5, 2021. The province has restricted indoor dining at all restaurants in B.C. due to a spike in COVID-19 numbers. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 indoor dining, drinking ban extending into May

Restaurant association says patio rules to be clarified

B.C. Premier John Horgan speaks at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
Tougher COVID-19 restrictions in B.C., including travel, still ‘on the table’: Horgan

John Horgan says travel restrictions will be discussed Wednesday by the provincial cabinet

RCMP on scene yesterday at the altercation at the trailer park. (Submitted photo)
Violent altercation at Port Hardy trailer park sends one to hospital

Police say man confronted another over airsoft shooting, then was attacked with a weapon

Protesters occupied a road leading to Fairy Creek Watershed near Port Renfrew. (Submitted photo)
B.C. First Nation says logging activist interference not welcome at Fairy Creek

Vancouver Island’s Pacheedaht concerned about increasing polarization over forestry activities

FILE - This Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2015, file photo shows the dashboard of the Tesla Model X car, at the company's headquarters in Fremont, Calif. Newer cars that connect to the internet are capable of collecting vast amounts of data about their drivers. Tesla Motors has used data to reveal, sometimes within hours of a crash, how fast the driver was going and whether or not the company’s semi-autonomous Autopilot system was engaged. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)
Test of vehicle’s self-drive features mistaken for impaired driving

Campbell River RCMP warn busy roadway no place to check out a vehicle’s new features

A trailer with fire damage is taped off by the Port Alberni Fire Department at the Wintergreen Apartments on Fourth Avenue. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Fire knocked down at controversial Port Alberni property

City is concerned about zoning, building code and fire code infractions surrounding the trailers

Prince Philip is seen here talking to Alex Rennie about platters of food presented by the culinary deparment at Malaspina College (now Vancouver Island University) in 1983. (Courtesy of Alex Rennie)
Parksville man recalls meeting Prince Philip at what was then Malaspina College

Alex Rennie, a former culinary instructor, got to shake hands with royal visitor

Flow Academy is not accepting membership applications from anybody who has received a dose of the vaccine, according to a password-protected membership application form. (Submitted image)
B.C. martial arts gym refusing patrons who have been vaccinated, wear masks

Interior Health has already issued a ticket to Flow Academy for non-compliance with public health orders

Guinevere, lovingly referred to by Jackee Sullivan and her family as Gwenny, is in need of a gynecological surgery. The family is raising money to help offset the cost of the procedure. (Jackee Sullivan/Special to Langley Advance Times)
Langley lizard’s owners raise funds for gynecological surgery

The young reptile is scheduled for operation on Tuesday

Most Read