Distracted driving, like texting while driving, is a leading cause of car crash fatalities in our province. Police statistics show that about a quarter of all car crash fatalities in B.C. in the last five years were related to distracted driving. Studies show that drivers who are talking on a cellphone lose about 50% of what is going on around them, visually. It’s critical that we all put our phones down and focus on the road.
Using personal electronic devices (including talking on a hand-held cellphone and texting) while driving has been banned in BC since January 2010.
A driver can’t use a hand-held electronic device, including:
- hand-held cellphones
- music players
- GPS navigation systems
Drivers with a regular licence are allowed to use hands-free cellphones and devices that can be operated with one touch or voice command, provided that the device is securely fixed to the vehicle or worn securely on the driver’s body.
Drivers needing to call 9-1-1 to reach police, fire or ambulance services about an emergency are exempt from the ban.
No call or text is so important it’s worth risking your life. Let calls go to voicemail and ignore your text messages while driving.
Hands-free means a Bluetooth or wired headset or speakerphone. The device must be securely attached to the car — it can’t be in your lap or loose in a cup holder or on the seat beside you. If you’re using a headset or headphones, remember that drivers can only wear them in one ear. Only motorcyclists may have an earpiece in both ears.
If you have to take a call, pull over if it’s safe to do so or use your phone in hands-free mode; stay focused on the road and keep the conversation brief. Ask your passengers to make or receive calls and texts for you. If you’re expecting an incoming call or text that requires your immediate attention, let your passenger drive.
Turn your cellphone off or place it in the trunk of your car so you won’t be tempted to talk, email or text when you’re on the road.