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Surrey Mounties ticket more than 700 distracted drivers in March

ICBC says one in four fatal crashes in B.C. involve distracted driving, killing 77 people each year

Surrey Mounties issued more than 700 tickets for distracted driving in March during a month-long targeted campaign.

“I believe it’s high, and we don’t want to see it that high, of course,” Sergeant Chad Greig said. “We want people to put their phones down and concentrate on driving, not texting.”

The RCMP and ICBC staged the first of three road checks to catch distracted drivers – texting and on their cellphone – on the afternoon of March 1 at 72nd Avenue and King George Boulevard. The others were on March 13, and 27.

“It happened throughout the entire month but we had three days where we did coordinated, extra patrols, and targeted areas,” Greig said.

He’s still waiting for a final tally of tickets.

“We could have more by the end of the month,” Greig said Thursday (March 28).

According to ICBC, more than one in four fatal crashes in the provinces involve distracted driving, killing an average of 77 people every year. Of those, 27 are killed in the Lower Mainland, 10 on Vancouver Island, 28 in the Southern Interior and 13 in B.C.’s North Central region.

Attorney General David Eby noted that distracted driving not only endangers lives with “devastating effects for families and communities,” but also puts “significant pressure” on insurance rates.

“That’s why we introduced tougher penalties for distracted drivers last year. Improving road safety is key to creating a sustainable auto insurance system with more affordable rates for everyone.”

If you’re caught using an electronic device while you’re driving, be it for emailing, texting or talking on your cell phone, expect a $368 fine. There’s also a “driver risk premium” to consider, escalating from $444 on the second conviction to $1,356 on the 10th, and continuing to rise beyond that.

Neil Dubord, chairman of the B.C. Association of Chiefs of Police Traffic Safety Committee, said that since 2010 police have issued a whopping 370,000 tickets for distracted driving related to using electronic devices.



tom.zytaruk@surreynowleader.com

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