B.C.’s distracted driving law saves lives

B.C.'s Provincial government issues press release concerning effectiveness of banning use of devices such as cellphones while driving

  • Jan. 7, 2012 5:00 a.m.

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

previous year.


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.”