Leanne Cassap attempts to text and drive at the same time while using ICBC’s distracted driving simulator. Miranda Gathercole Langley Times

VIDEO: Reporter tries distracted driving simulator

Distracted driving is the second leading cause of car crash fatalities in B.C., says ICBC

Texting and driving at the same time is not only difficult to do — it’s potentially deadly — and ICBC is out to prove it.

A distracted driving simulator, now available for use by schools, businesses and community groups in Langley, shows just how hard it is to concentrate on the road when your vehicle is full of potential diversions.

The simulator takes motorists through a virtual scenario where they must drive their friend to work, and multitask between using a cellphone, listening to a conversation and looking out for hazards on the road.

Both a Langley Times reporter and Leanne Cassap, ICBC’s road safety and community co-ordinator for the Langleys, were unable to make it very far in the challenge. Both lost control when attempting to type a text and turn a corner at the same time.

“Distracted driving is now the second leading cause of car crash fatalities on our roads — it’s actually outnumbered the number of impaired driving fatalities,” Cassap said. “And you’re actually five times more likely to crash when you’re using your hand held cellphone.

“Studies show that you lose 50 per cent of what is going on around you when you use a hand held phone. So when you’re behind the wheel, take a break from your phone.”

READ MORE: Police on the lookout for distracted drivers

Distracted driving, which involves any activity — not just texting and calling — that causes the driver to lose focus on the road, is one of the top factors in police reported injury crashes in B.C., Cassap said.

There has also been a “rapid increase” in crashes throughout the province, with approximately 875 crashes happening every day. That’s the equivalent of one crash every two minutes.

“Many of these are caused by distracted driving or inattentive drivers,” Cassap said.

In an effort to combat this, ICBC has listed several tips online to help drivers remove the temptation of using their phones while behind the wheel. ICBC has also teamed up with the RCMP to implement a provincial road and safety campaign on this issue throughout the month of March.

ICBC TIPS:

  • No call, text or email is so important it’s worth risking your life or the lives of others. Let calls go to voicemail and ignore your text messages while driving;
  • Turn it off and put it out of sight or turn on airplane mode to avoid the temptation to check your phone;
  • Assign a designated texter. Ask your passengers to make or receive calls and texts for you;
  • Pull over to make or receive a call when it’s safe to do so. For longer journeys, look for signs at highway rest areas, some of which now provide free Wi-Fi;
  • Use the ‘Do Not Disturb While Driving’ feature on iOS devices, ‘In-Traffic Reply’ on Samsung phones, or download a similar app to help you avoid using your phone while driving;
  • Don’t use your cellphone at a red light. The law applies whenever you’re in control of the vehicle, whether stopped at a red light or in bumper-to-bumper traffic;
  • Keep your hands off. Hands-free means a Bluetooth, wired headset or speakerphone that can be operated with one touch or voice commands. Make sure to secure the cellphone to the vehicle or attach it on your body before driving;
  • If you have a Learner’s (L) or Novice (N) licence, you aren’t allowed to use any electronic device behind the wheel, for any purpose, even in hands-free mode;
  • Make sure you understand the law on how to use electronic devices while driving.

Those wishing to book the distracted driving simulator at locations in Langley can do so by contacting Cassap at 604-533-7472 or emailing Leanne.Cassap@icbc.com.

For all other locations, contact your local ICBC road safety co-ordinator.



miranda@langleytimes.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Lost sheep returned to the fold — stolen sculpture reappears

The Castlegar Sculpturewalk sculpture was reported missing Tuesday.

Art thieves nab Castlegar statue

Desert Big Horn part of Castlegar Sculpturewalk collection.

Trail bus line readies to takeover Kelowna run

Silver City Stage Lines must have a booking site up by Sept. 30; two vehicles activated by Oct. 26

Syringa fires under control

After more than a month, the Syringa Fire Complex is not expected to grow any larger.

More burning prohibitions rescinded in southeast B.C.

Category 2 and 3 fires will be permitted in Southeast Fire Centre as of 1p.m. on Wednesday.

64 cats seized from ‘bad situation’ now in BC SPCA care

The surrender is part of an ongoing animal cruelty investigation with BC SPCA Special Constable

LETTER: Who do we blame for the tragedy of Marissa Shen’s death?

The B.C. girl was killed in a Burnaby park last July

Competition tribunal to hear B.C.-based case on airline food starting in October

The competition commissioner argued Vancouver airport authority had exploited its market position

Seek compromise with U.S. on cannabis at border, lawyers urge Ottawa

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency sent tremors through Canada’s burgeoning cannabis sector

Trudeau says Canada wants to see ‘movement’ before signing revised NAFTA deal

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland is back in Washington in search of a way to bridge divide

Young people need us to act on climate change, McKenna tells G7 ministers

Catherine McKenna led off the three-day Halifax gathering Wednesday

East Kootenay town considers public smoking ban ahead of cannabis legalization

Under the proposed regulations, anyone caught smoking or vaping in public will face a $2000 fine

B.C. woman facing animal cruelty charges after emaciated dog seized

Kira, a Rottweiler, had kidney and bladder infections

Kim agrees to dismantle main nuke site if US takes steps too

Kim promised to accept international inspectors to monitor the closing of a key missile test site and launch pad and to visit Seoul soon.

Most Read