(File image)

(File image)

EDITORIAL: Leave the phone alone

Texting while driving could result in a fatality

Driving in British Columbia requires plenty of care and attention.

This province has plenty of mountain passes, narrow winding roads and high-traffic areas in the Lower Mainland, parts of Vancouver Island and the Okanagan. In addition, snow and ice in winter present additional challenges for motorists.

Because of these conditions and others, it is difficult to comprehend why any driver in this province would choose to use their phone while driving.

READ ALSO: 42% of B.C. drivers are still texting behind the wheel, 12 years into the law taking effect

READ ALSO: Distracted driving enforcement getting full police attention on B.C. highways

A recent survey, conducted by Ipsos for ICBC, showed around 42 per cent of drivers in this province admit to using their phones while driving, at least 10 per cent of the time.

This behaviour is disturbing. Distracted driving, which includes texting while driving, accounts for 76 deaths in a year, or roughly one-quarter of all traffic fatalities in this province. That figure is higher than the number of deaths from impaired driving.

Since 2010, texting while driving has been illegal. This includes texting or checking messages while stopped at a red light.

The fine is $368 as well as four penalty points on the license for a single distracted driving ticket. This should be enough to deter motorists from sending or reading messages while they are behind the wheel.

When motorists text while driving, it is not because of a lack of knowledge of the dangers.

For a dozen years, the province has provided information about the dangers of distracted driving.

Anyone with a valid driver’s license should know the risks.

Checking a message, even for a moment, could be a contributing factor in a serious accident.

There are some important calls and texts that will come in, even when someone is driving.

However, these calls and messages should be handled by someone else in the vehicle or addressed later, when the motorist is parked safely.

Behind the wheel, the motorist’s sole responsibility is to drive safely.

The call or text can wait. Leave the phone alone.

– Black Press

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