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, 10 of which happen on Vancouver Island.
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 for drivers who have held a full drivers license for less than five years. The project was originally announced in November, and further details, including the telematics vendor, will be released later this spring.
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., including a province-wide blitz on Friday, 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 what’s similarly available on other devices. Free ‘not while driving’ decals are available at ICBC driver licensing offices and participating Autoplan broker offices for drivers to support the campaign and encourage other road users to leave their phones alone.