VICTORIA – B.C.’s comprehensive distracted driving law is estimated to
have saved 16 lives and brought about a 12 per cent reduction in the
number of serious injuries since the law was introduced two years ago.
Changes to the Motor Vehicle Act came into force Feb. 1, 2010 to
prevent the use of hand-held cellphones and electronic devices while
driving. Drivers are prohibited from operating or holding electronic
devices, such as cellphones. This offence is subject to a fine of $167.
Drivers caught texting or emailing will receive three penalty points in
addition to the fine. Drivers in the Graduated Licensing Program are
not permitted to use any device, including hands-free.
From Feb. 1, 2010 to July 31, 2011, fatalities related to distracted
driving dropped by 12 per cent. Serious injuries related to distracted
driving went down 12 per cent when compared to deaths and serious
injuries between Feb. 1, 2008 and July 31, 2009.
Using a hand-held cellphone is the number-one cause of distracted
driving – a choice that comes with consequences. Evidence shows that
talking on a cellphone while driving reduces a driver’s field of vision
by 50 per cent and quadruples the risk of causing a motor vehicle
Between Feb. 1, 2010 and Sept. 30, 2011, police issued 46,008 tickets
to drivers for using a hand-held electronic device while driving.
During the same time period, another 1,372 tickets were issued to
drivers for emailing or texting while driving. Police have issued over
34 per cent more tickets for distracted driving in 2011 than in the
Each year, police, ICBC and road safety partners join together to help
raise awareness about the dangers of distracted driving and how we can
all help make our roads safer by making smart decisions.
Shirley Bond, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General –
“While the statistics show that we have seen a reduction in fatalities
and serious injuries, far too many people are not getting the message.
If you choose to text or talk on your cellphone when you are driving,
you are putting your life and the lives of others at risk.”
“Could any phone call or text message be worth that risk? When you
buckle up, make it part of your routine to leave your electronic
devices in the trunk, a purse or a briefcase. Don’t risk getting a
fine, points or, worse yet, a serious injury or death.”