As a recent RCMP Media Release has pointed out, British Columbians are breaking the rules when it comes to driving while using phones and other electronics. We’ve all been in the situation where an important call comes through and we guiltily grab for the phone, but evidence is mounting that many people are not simply using their phones and other electronics occasionally when behind the wheel, but rather they are flouting the law consistently and for long periods of their commutes. During their February enforcement campaign, police issued more than 6,000 violation tickets, up from previous years. Increasing the penalties for the offence are being considered, including enabling police to seize phones for period of time. As distracted driving can have dire consequences, it’s clear the current regime of fines is not working and that people are not getting the message.
Also recently, a BC Coroner’s Service inquest into a pedestrian fatality involving a police cruiser was published. The inquest recommends that police forces re-consider their policies surrounding the use of electronic devises in police vehicles. In this case it was found that a police officer’s inattention while using an on-board police computer contributed to the jay-walking death of a Surrey pedestrian.