A new Ipsos survey has found more British Columbians are using their phones while driving than in previous years.
Of those surveyed, 43 per cent of drivers admit to using their phone at least once out of every 10 trips — up from 33 per cent in 2019.
Overall, 59 per cent of drivers agree to some extent that it is sometimes ‘perfectly safe’ to talk on the phone while driving, and 42 per cent agree to some extent that it sometimes ‘perfectly safe’ to text while driving.
But Lindsay Matthews, ICBC’s vice president of customer experience and public affairs, disagrees with those respondents.
“When you’re driving, staying focused on the road should be your top priority. No phone call or text is worth risking the safety of yourself and other road users. Set a positive example for those around you and take a break from your phone when you’re behind the wheel – turn it to silent or ‘do not disturb’ mode and keep it out of reach and out of sight. We all play a role in creating safer roads for everyone.”
ICBC and police are launching a month-long campaign urging drivers to leave their phone alone while driving. Police across the province are ramping up distracted driving enforcement, and community volunteers are conducting Cell Watch deployments to remind drivers to keep their eyes on the road.
According to ICBC, distracted driving is responsible for 76 fatalities every year.
Distracted driving in B.C. (ICBC)
Anyone caught distracted driving will be ticketed and face fines of $368. Every ticket for distracted driving also adds four driver penalty points to your driving record. If an individual has four or more points at the end of a 12-month period, they pay a driver penalty point (DPP) premium.
Drivers may also have to pay a driver risk premium if they get more than one distracted driving ticket in a three-year period.