The Prince George RCMP’s Municipal Traffic Services Section, with the assistance of Citizens on Patrol, attempted to put a dent in the number of distracted drivers on the roads in Prince George.
Officers tried a few different platforms in order to observe drivers e-mailing, texting, talking, but otherwise holding their cell phones while driving. They used fully-marked police vehicles, unmarked and unconventional police vehicles, and even rode the transit bus as passengers to observe drivers using devices while driving.
In this operation, 16 tickets were handed out in March. Each of these tickets resulted in $543 in total costs for a first-time offender (initial fine of $368, plus four demerit points adding $175, equaling $543).
Citizens on Patrol conducted observations of the motoring public, over 4,700 vehicles. They observed 57 drivers texting, talking, and otherwise holding a cell phone. Warning letters were mailed out to registered owners of these vehicles, and one letter was sent to WorkSafeBC because it involved a commercial vehicle.
The Prince George RCMP would like to thank motorists who make the conscious decision to put their cell phones away while driving or to only use their phones through true a ‘hands free’ operations. The RCMP reminds all motorists that it is against the law to text, email, talk, or otherwise hold an electronic device in their hand while operating a motor vehicle. This includes being stopped at a red light. It’s also against the law to allow a pet, or cargo, to obstruct the clear view or safe operation of a vehicle, or to be another passenger in the vehicle that is obstructing the clear view or safe operation.
The crash risk is 23 times higher for those who text while driving. Distracted driving is the second-leading contributing factor in vehicle fatalities in BC with 88 deaths a year.
Further distracted driving enforcement action will be taken throughout the year.