Distracted driving project wraps up


Sgt. Matt LaBelle of the Prince George RCMP’s municipal traffic services section warns motorists to put their cellphones away. Bill Phillips photo
Sgt. Matt LaBelle of the Prince George RCMP’s municipal traffic services section warns motorists to put their cellphones away. Bill Phillips photo

Throughout the months of February and March, the Prince George RCMP’s Traffic Services Section conducted an enforcement campaign to target distracted drivers in our community.  The enforcement campaign began on February 1 and concluded on March 31.

During enforcement checks, police were specifically targeting any driving behaviour that takes your attention from the road.  As a result of this campaign, the following provincial violations were issued:

  • 92 tickets for using a cell phone while driving;
  • 5 tickets for driving while the view or vehicle controls are obstructed (this includes pets on laps and cargo blocking the front window);
  • 10 tickets for driving without due care and attention.

While searching for distracted drivers, officers located and charged 140 persons for failing to wear a seatbelt.

“These numbers demonstrate the need for more distracted driving enforcement,” said Sgt. Matt LaBelle, of the Prince George RCMP’s Traffic Services Section, in a news release.  “Even though this campaign is now over, we will continue to seek out drivers on their phones.”

There are rarely any messages or conversations that are so important that you need to endanger yourself, your loved ones or others on the road.  If drivers need to make a phone call or check messages, they are advised to use a hands-free device or park their vehicle in a safe place off the road, when it is safe to do so.  A safe place does not include the shoulder of a highway.

Police would like to remind drivers that the “use” of a cell phone includes “just holding it”, “just plugging it in” and using it while stopped at a red light.

Each distracted driving violation results in a minimum of $543 in total costs for a first-time offender (initial fine of $368, plus four demerit points adding $175, equaling $543).  Total costs go up to $888 for a second offence and increase for each subsequent offence.

For more information, visit ICBC’s Distracted Driver campaign page.