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B.C. government, police still searching for solutions to combat distracted driving

Crashes reached a record high back in 2017
(via ICBC)

It's a message that many still do not get: leave your phone alone while you're driving. 

ICBC says crashes reached a record high in 2017 and police and the government are still trying to find solutions to tackle the increasing problem. 

Distracted driving doesn't just involve your phone; it can be anything that takes away focus from the road and/or control of their vehicle.

It's also the leading contributing factor in police-reported injury crashes in the province. 

One of the ideas being looked at is a telematics pilot project that will start this summer.

The reason for the testing is to find out if the technology can improve road safety and driving behaviour, specifically for experienced drivers in British Columbia. 

ICBC says eligibility will be based on driving experience but will be open to all drivers entering the novice (N) stage of the Graduated Licensing Program and for those who have had a full drivers license for less than five years. 

The project was announced back in November of 2018 and more specific details will be announced this spring. 

Drivers will once again be hearing to leave their phones alone while driving. 

A stronger police presence will be appearing across B.C. throughout March but also a province-wide blitz on Friday (Mar. 1). 

"This telematics pilot project will enable us to better understand the role that technology can play in reducing distraction and preventing crashes for inexperienced drivers," ICBC Vide-President Public Affairs Lindsay Matthews says in a news release. "But safer roads start with every driver making a conscious decision to focus on the road and leave their phones alone. You're five times more likely to crash if you're using your phone while driving. Let's all do our part to create a safer driving culture in B.C." 

According to Chair of B.C. Association of Chiefs of Police Traffic Safety Committee Neil Dubord, more than 370,000 tickets for electronic device use have been issued since 2010. 

ICBC says every year (on average based on police data from 2013 to 2017) 13 people are killed in distracted driving-related crashes in the North Central Region. 


Jess Fedigan

About the Author: Jess Fedigan

Jess Fedigan graduated from BCIT’s broadcast and online journalism program in 2016. Her career (so far) has taken her to Fort St. John, Victoria and now Prince George.
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