Distracted driving remains a common practice, it seems, the No. 1 offence in the latest road safety blitz by Kamloops RCMP.
A total of 77 drivers were stopped Tuesday, Aug. 30, in two enforcement efforts downtown and on the North Shore. Of those, 30 were observed using electronic devices at the wheel.
Distracted driving, particularly at intersections, is the focus of a month-long campaign by RCMP, ICBC and the province, announced earlier in the week. Higher penalties took effect June 1. The base fine of $368 for each offence is up from $167 and adds four penalty points to a driving record instead of three.
Despite the harsher penalties, police find that drivers give into a temptation to use their cellphones while stuck in traffic or stopped at an intersection.
Officers set up Tuesday at two high-volume city intersections, Seymour Street and 1st Avenue as well as at Tranquille Road and Sydney Avenue.
Failing to wear a seatbelt was the second most common offence with 21 tickets issued. Six people were fined for trying to beat an amber light and eight vehicles were pulled over for defects. Two people had no insurance while three had driver's licence infractions. Only one was penalized for speeding.
Due to the high incidence of distracted driving — which is the No. 2 cause of motor vehicle accidents in the province — Kamloops RCMP remind motorists to put devices away while driving.
They also promise they’ll be back on the roadside conducting more traffic blitzes in the coming months.
“Insurance rates in B.C. are under incredible pressure from a number of external factors, primarily caused by an increasing number of crashes occurring on our roads – 300,000 crashes, or more than 800 every single day, in 2015 alone,” said Steve Crombie, ICBC’s vice president responsible for road safety, as the latest enforcement campaign was launched. “Many of these crashes are caused by high-risk driving behaviours, including distracted driving.”