Surrey Mounties stop drivers near 72nd Avenue and Scott Road on Tuesday in a campaign against distracted driving. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)

Surrey Mounties, Delta Police targeting distracted drivers

Twenty one people were killed in traffic crashes in Surrey last year

Surrey Mounties and Delta Police joined forces Tuesday in a campaign against distracted driving at 72nd Avenue and Scott Road, which police say is the most critical location of five crash hot-spots along the Surrey/Delta border.

Seargeant Dave Chu, in charge of the Surrey RCMP’s traffic section, said the intersection has been identified through statistics as one of the worst for distracted driving cases along Scott Road for “both injuries, and just collisions overall.”

It’s in tandem with Surrey’s Vision Zero campaign that aims to reduce injuries and death on this city’s streets. Its goal is to reduce injury collisions by 15 per cent over the next five years.

So what do police consider to be distracted driving?

“Most people would recognize distracted driving as someone talking on their cellphone, but it could be as innocent perhaps driving with one hand eating,” or looking down at a document. Even daydreaming.

The penalties are expensive. The base ticket is $368, Chu notes, “and it can go up into the hundreds if not thousands of dollars.”

“It is a stiff penalty, but if you compare what the consequences are, perhaps for a serious injury collission or a fatality, it is a reality check.”

Surrey Mounties stopped six drivers in about half an hour, after the campaign began at 10 a.m. But it was set to be an all-day enforcement campaign which, at that intersection alone, netted seven distracted driving tickets, two tickets for driving without a valid licence, one for driving without insurance, two for driving without an “N,” one licence plate violation, two tickets for tinted windows, two notice orders for driving vehicles not fit for the road, and two driving prohibitions resulting in impounds. Along the Scott Road corridor Tuesday, some 3,500 vehicles were checked, there were 31 speeders and 30 distracted drivers.

Constable Richard Wright also participated in the campaign.

“To put into context, on Friday, September 6, we had 44 separate tickets written by our traffic members for distracted driving offences,” he said. “That is unacceptable in the city of Surrey, as a police officer in Surrey and a resident of Surrey, we are, I am, driving home the message that distracted driving is unacceptable on our roadways. It is all of our responsibility to ensure safe driving behaviours are present on our roads.”

According to surrey.ca, one or more people are killed or injured every month on Surrey’s roads, somebody is injured every hour, crashes in this city cost more than a million dollars a day, and every year the number injury collisions increases by up to three per cent.

Twenty one people were killed in traffic crashes in Surrey last year, with Newton seeing the highest concentration.



tom.zytaruk@surreynowleader.com

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