Police across B.C. are cracking down on distracted driving throughout the month of March. Photo: ICBC.

ICBC combats distracted driving with March crackdown

A telematics pilot project is also being launched for new drivers

With more than one in four fatal crashes on B.C. roads involving driver distraction, ICBC, police, and government continue to look for solutions to combat this dangerous driving behaviour that claims 77 lives each year.* Every year, on average, 28 people are killed in distracted driving-related crashes in the Southern Interior.

Crashes reached a record high in 2017, with many of these caused by distracted or inattentive driving. Distracted driving involves any non-driving activity that reduces a driver’s ability to focus on the road or control their vehicle, and is the leading contributing factor in police-reported injury crashes in B.C.

As part of the commitment to make roads safer, ICBC is inviting eligible drivers to participate in a telematics pilot project starting this summer. The goal is to determine whether using this technology can improve road safety and driving behaviour for inexperienced drivers in B.C.

Eligibility is based on driving experience, and will be open to all drivers entering the novice stage of the Graduated Licensing Program and to drivers who have held a full driver’s license for less than five years. The project was originally announced in November 2018, and further details, including the telematics vendor, will be released later this spring.

“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,” says Lindsay Matthews, ICBC’s Vice-President Public Affairs. “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.”

The B.C. government, police, and ICBC conduct two distracted driving education and enhanced enforcement campaigns every year. The campaigns also include advertising and social media support.

This month, drivers will be hearing one united message: take a break from your phone when you’re behind the wheel. Enhanced police enforcement of distracted driving will take place across B.C., and community volunteers are conducting Cell Watch deployments to remind drivers to leave their phone alone when driving.

Drivers can do their part by avoiding distractions while driving, and encouraging others to do the same.

Activate Apple’s Do Not Disturb While Driving feature or other, similar, features available on other devices. Free “Not while driving” decals are available at ICBC driver licensing offices and participating Autoplan broker offices for drivers, so that they can support the campaign and encourage other road users to leave their phones alone.

You can register your interest in participating in the pilot project at www.icbc.com/driverpilot.

*Police data from 2013 to 2017. Distraction: where one or more of the vehicles involved had contributing factors including use of communication/video equipment, driver inattentive, and driver internal/external distraction.



editorial@accjournal.ca

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