VicPD hands out 85 distracted driving tickets in a single day
Published Wednesday, March 6, 2019 4:57PM PST Last Updated Wednesday, March 6, 2019 6:46PM PST
Despite tougher penalties in B.C., Victoria police say too many motorists are still texting and driving.
Police are cracking down on distracted driving as part of a province-wide ICBC campaign, which aims to bring awareness to the dangers of being preoccupied behind the wheel.
Police officers, volunteers, and ICBC employees were stationed throughout the city Wednesday, looking for drivers who were texting behind the wheel, and say they were disappointed with what they found.
“We’re seeing more than we should be,” said Const. Matt Rutherford. “We should be getting nobody, but unfortunately we’re still writing tickets and still seeing people on their phones and distracted.”
On Wednesday, police issued 85 distracted driving tickets across Greater Victoria, in addition to the 28 tickets that officers handed out Tuesday in just five hours. It’s an expensive mistake and comes with demerit points and a ticket, which costs offenders a total of $580.
“I can tell you distracted driving is the leading cause of rear-end crashes and that is our most common crash,” said ICBC Road Safety and Community Coordinator Colleen Woodger. “I do feel that people still need to get the message and consider whether or not their making driving a priority.”
"Operation Hang-up" is focused on drivers using technology, but distracted driving isn’t limited to using a phone. Having a pet in the driver’s seat, eating, or reading are all actions that are considered to be just as dangerous.
“People just do not pay attention to their surroundings,” said Rutherford. “Things can change quickly and you have to pay attention and be alive to that fact, and you’re not doing that if you’re [distracted].”
Distracted and inattentive driving is the second-leading cause of fatal crashes and is responsible for the deaths of an average of 10 people, annually, on Vancouver Island.