Officers catch plenty of violators in distracted driving blitz

More than 3,000 talking on phones or using other hand-held devices

A hands-free device is the only legal way to talk on the phone while driving – except for Learner and Novice drivers who are banned from all use of electronic devices.

A hands-free device is the only legal way to talk on the phone while driving – except for Learner and Novice drivers who are banned from all use of electronic devices.

Police nabbed more than 3,000 drivers using cellphones and other handheld electronic devices during a month-long distracted driving enforcement blitz in February.

Officers heard plenty of excuses – none of them good ones.

“I was just on my way to buy a Bluetooth [hands-free kit],” one driver said.

Another was afraid of missing an important call and one woman told police she was “just telling my husband to call back later because I’m driving.”

RCMP E Division Traffic Services Supt. Mike Diack said it’s disappointing to see such a high number of motorists violating B.C.’s year-old distracted driving law.

“The excuses won’t mean anything if you are involved in a collision that seriously injures or kills somebody because you made a phone call or sent a text message,” he said.

The only valid reason for making a handheld call is to call for emergency assistance, he said.

More than 2,200 of the distracted drivers were busted and given $167 fines in the Lower Mainland and the stats don’t count drivers caught by general duty officers who weren’t part of the blitz.

Despite the new law, RCMP say distracted driving was a contributing factor in 104 fatal crashes in B.C. last year and is blamed in another 5,000 injuries each year.

Forty-five of the deaths linked to inattentive or distracted driving happened in the Lower Mainland, while 30 were in southeastern B.C, 15 were in the north and 14 were on Vancouver Island.

Besides the $167 fine for handheld use of an electronic device while driving, violators can also be given three ICBC driver penalty points if they’re caught texting or emailing.

Drivers in the Graduated Licensing Program are banned from using all electronic devices, even with hands-free options.

Just Posted

A Milbert’s tortoiseshell rests on a flower. Nature Chilliwack says butterfly gardens for every stage of life are possible using plants native to the area. (Photo/Nature Chilliwack)
Nature Chilliwack offers butterfly garden tips

Gardens can be created using local plants, the nature club says

(Photo/Mary-Jean Coyle)
Community Camera for June 11, 2021

Submit your photos to news@ahobserver.com

Jacqueline Pearce and Jean-Pierre Antonio received the BC Historical Federation Best Article Award on Saturday for their story about translating haiku written in the Tashme internment camp.
Article chronicling haiku in Japanese internment camp near Hope wins award

Tashme Haiku Club’s work was preserved and recently translated, authors write

(Adam Louis/Observer)
PHOTOS: Students leap into action in track events at Kent Elementary

At Kent Elementary, when the sun’s outside, the fun’s outside. The intermediate… Continue reading

Kindergarten kids from Evans elementary school in Chilliwack painted rocks with orange hearts and delivered them to Sto:lo Elders Lodge recently after learning about residential schools. (Laura Bridge photo)
Kindergarten class paints rocks with orange hearts in Chilliwack for local elders

‘Compassion and empathy’ being shown by kids learning about residential schools

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

Most Read