Stay alive – don’t text and drive

Some drivers continue to text at the wheel, despite a B.C. law that has banned the use of personal electronic devices while operating a motor vehicle since Jan. 1, 2010.

As part of Crime Prevention Week (Nov. 1-7), the Province wants to be sure drivers are aware of the well-documented dangers of texting and driving.

According to the BC Crime Prevention Association (BCCPA), studies show texting and driving makes a person 23 times more likely to be involved in a motor vehicle crash. The BCCPA says research has also shown that five seconds of texting at 80 kilometres per hour is equivalent to 91.4 metres of missed road – almost the length of a football field.

To avoid the temptation of driving distracted, you can:

* Make any calls and send emails or texts before beginning to drive. Wait until you have arrived at your destination to continue.
* Turn your cellphone off or put it somewhere out of reach for the duration of your trip so you will not be tempted to use it while driving.
* Let your calls go to voicemail and listen to the messages once you are at your destination and have stopped driving.
* Ask your passengers to make or receive calls or text messages for you while driving.
* If you must use a personal electronic device while in the car, safely pull over and turn off the car before doing so.

If you are caught texting and driving, you may be fined $167 and receive three penalty points.

To raise awareness of the problem and work toward stopping the behaviour, the BCCPA has also launched a distracted driving campaign and collected pledges not to text and drive. People who make a pledge receive a thumb band that reads “Texting Kills” to serve as a reminder that it can lead to collisions and potentially death.

For more tips and safety information, contact the BCCPA at 604 501-9222, or: