ICBC on Tuesday announced that a new Ipsos survey reveals that 42% of drivers admit they still use their phone at least one out of every 10 trips.
Yet of those B.C. drivers surveyed, 93% believe it’s highly risky to text while driving and 84% believe it’s highly risky to talk while holding a cell phone and driving.
Using electronic devices, like smart phones, is one of the most common and riskiest forms of distracted driving and increases the possibility of a crash by five times. In fact, any activity that reduces a driver’s ability to focus on the road or control their vehicle puts the safety of other road users at risk, noted ICBC.
On Tuesday, ICBC and police launched a month-long campaign urging drivers to leave their phone alone while driving. Police are ramping up enforcement of distracted driving across B.C., and community volunteers are conducting Cell Watch deployments to remind drivers to keep their eyes on the road when they’re behind the wheel.
Distracted driving accounts for more than one in four fatal crashes each year. It’s the second leading contributing factor in traffic fatalities in B.C., behind speeding and ahead of impaired driving, and on average factors in 76 deaths annually.
Drivers can do their part by avoiding distractions and encouraging others to do the same. Plan ahead and make sure you have everything you need before hitting the road, avoid looking at or interacting with screens and stay focused on the road when you drive, said ICBC.
Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, said: “While vehicles provide a crucial role in the daily economy of British Columbians, crashes are a reality on our roads, and driving remains a privilege. With a quarter of traffic fatalities caused by distracted driving, there is absolutely no excuse for it. The safety and well-being of fellow British Columbians needs to be the priority on our roads.”
Chief Constable Neil Dubord, Chair of the BC Association of Chiefs of Police Traffic Safety Committee, added: “It only takes a split second for lives to be impacted forever. That’s why police across the province share a common goal – our dedication to preventing crashes, injuries and fatalities caused by distracted driving. More than one-quarter of all traffic deaths in B.C. involve distracted driving, but together we have the ability to change that. Police are reminding drivers to avoid distractions, keep their eyes on the road, and encourage others to do the same. The split-second choices we all make while driving can change lives forever, so please leave your phones alone when driving.”
Lindsay Matthews, ICBC’s Vice-President Customer Experience and Public Affairs, said: “When you’re distracted behind the wheel, you’re risking the safety of yourself and other road users. Even short glances away from the road increase your risk of crashing. Stay focused when you drive and use it as an opportunity to take a break from your phone – turn it to silent or ‘do not disturb’ mode and keep it out of reach and out of sight. Let’s all do our part to create a safer driving culture in B.C.”
You can get tips and statistics in an infographic on icbc.com.