The B.C. government, ICBC and police have launched a month-long distracted driving campaign using a driving simulator to demonstrate the impact of distractions behind the wheel.
According to ICBC, distracted driving is the third leading cause of fatal car crashes in B.C., trailing behind speed and impaired driving. On average, 91 people are killed each year in B.C. due to driver distractions, such as using a hand-held electronic device behind the wheel.
“With vacations over and kids back in school, our roads are busy again, which is why we’re asking drivers to leave the phone alone and stay focused on the road,” said Todd Stone, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. “You’re four times more likely to crash when talking on a hand-held phone behind the wheel, and 23 times more likely to get in a crash if you text while driving.”
Police are stepping up enforcement across the province and will be checking for distracted drivers throughout September.
A 2012 Ipsos Reid survey, conducted on behalf of ICBC, showed that B.C. drivers consider texting while driving to be just as risky as drinking and driving, yet 40 per cent of those who own cell phones admit they’ve used their hand-held phone while driving.
“Driving is a complex task that requires your full attention,” said Mark Blucher, ICBC’s interim president and CEO. “When you’re distracted behind the wheel your reaction time is significantly reduced. Distracted driving is a common cause of rear-end crashes and injuries — there is no safe following distance when your mind is not on the road.”
The distracted driving campaign aims to change driver attitudes and behaviours. Drivers can create a culture where people encourage each other to avoid distractions behind the wheel so that our roads are safer for everyone.
For more tips and information on this year’s distracted driving campaign, visit icbc.com.