Nearly one in three deaths on the British Columbia (BC) roads is related to distracted driving, according to the RCMP Traffic Services.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) has released preliminary stats for 2012 that show that 30 percent of deaths on road and 37 percent of serious injuries are involved in distracted driving.
On Monday, the RCMP launched a campaign targeting distracted drivers. The full-month campaign is aimed at preventing the drivers from illegally using the mobile phones while driving.
"In the month of February, police across BC will be targeting drivers who operate vehicles while using a handheld device," said Corporal Robert McDonald of BC RCMP Traffic Services. "Holding a cell phone in your hand on speaker phone is an offence."
In 2012, the police handed out more than 4,000 distracted driving tickets across the province. Despite repeated crackdowns, driving and talking or texting remained a big problem in BC, said McDonald.
"What we see a lot is people using their cellphone about chest-high as a speaker-phone rather than a hands-free device," CBC has quoted McDonald as saying. "So we want people to be aware that a hands-free device is a device mounted onto a vehicle or [that's] on your person with an earpiece, or something like that, and it's activated by one touch only."
Since the law came into effect, the RCMP has issued more than 105,000 tickets across the province for using mobile phones while driving.
McDonald said anyone using handheld device for calling or texting while driving or even while stopped in traffic signal would be charged with a fine of $167. Distracted drivers could also face an additional charge for over-speeding and ignoring traffic signals.
Distracted driving involves eating while driving or even having a dog in driver's lap. Police could issue a ticket if they determine driver was causing careless or dangerous driving, he added.
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