Canadian Underwriter

ICBC, police and B.C. government team up for month-long distracted driving campaign in March

March 2, 2016   by Canadian Underwriter

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The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC), police and the provincial government are teaming up to launch a month-long distracted driving campaign in March.

Distracted driving is responsible for approximately one-quarter of all fatal crashes in B.C., ICBC said in a press release on Tuesday. “Most drivers understand that using their phone increases their risk of crashing, yet many still do it,” ICBC said, adding that according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the odds of crashing increase by five times when using a phone, whether dialing, texting, reading or using social media. [click image below to enlarge]

Distracted driving is responsible for about ¼ of all fatal crashes in B.C.

Regionally, 27 people on average are killed in distracted driving-related crashes in the Lower Mainland, according to police data from 2010 to 2014. Distraction is “where one or more of the vehicles involved had contributing factors including use of communication/video equipment, driver inattentive and driver internal/external distraction.” On average, 10 people are killed every year in distracted-driving related crashes on Vancouver Island, 31 in the Southern Interior and 15 in the North Central region, according to the data.

ICBC said that police are ramping up their enforcement of distracted driving across the province, and “cell watch” volunteers will be roadside, reminding drivers to leave their phones alone. ICBC road safety coordinators will also attend community events with a driving simulator the public can try. The campaign features radio advertising and digital advertising which will appear online as well as in restaurants and bars. [click image below to enlarge]

On average, 81 people die every year in B.C. in crashes where distracted driving is a contributing factor

“B.C. drivers know it’s against the law, but far too many still make excuses for their behaviour, and put themselves and others at risk by using their phone while driving,” said Chief Constable Neil Dubord, chair of the B.C. Association of Chiefs of Police’s Traffic Safety Committee. “That’s why we’re cracking down on those who cannot police themselves. Even when you’re at a red light or in slow moving traffic – you’re still in control of a vehicle – and the law still applies.”

Lindsay Matthews, ICBC’s director responsible for road safety, noted that a recent Ipsos Reid survey conducted for ICBC found that 34% of cellphone owners said they use their phone between one and five times out of every 10 driving trips. “It’s time we all commit to leaving our phones alone and avoiding other forms of distraction when we’re behind the wheel,” Matthews said.