If you’re looking at your phone, you can’t see the road.
Whether you’re reading emails or taking a call without a hands-free system, using an electronic device behind the wheel is a dangerous distraction. When you use a phone while driving, you increase the likelihood of getting into a crash by five times – that’s five times the risk of hurting yourself or somebody else on the road. Even though checking your phone at a red light may seem harmless, the truth is anything that takes your focus away from the road while in traffic presents a real danger.
Not only is using an electronic device while driving a bad idea, it’s against the law and can result in tough penalties and stiff fines.
If you use a phone behind the wheel, you will be caught
Police are stepping up enforcement to put a stop to distracted driving. With increased enforcement in communities throughout B.C., you can bet that if you use an electronic device behind the wheel, you will be ticketed.
As of June 1, 2016, fines and penalties have increased to $368 and four penalty points.
This means that having multiple infractions can now put a serious dent in your wallet as well as your vehicle.
Tips for safe cell phone use
Leave your phone alone. No call or text is worth risking your life or the lives of others. Let calls go to voicemail and ignore your notifications while in traffic. Remember using a phone at a stop light is still prohibited.
Pull over to make or receive a call. If you have to take a call, pull over if it’s safe to do so; stay focused on the road and keep the conversation brief. Make sure you’re focused on driving before re-entering traffic.
Plan to avoid distraction. Turn off your mobile phone, put it on airplane mode, or place it in the trunk of your car so you won’t be tempted to talk, email or text when you’re on the road.
Assign a designated texter. Ask your passengers to make or receive calls and texts for you while in traffic.
Keep your hands off. Hands-free means a Bluetooth or wired headset or speakerphone that can be operated with one touch or voice commands and doesn’t take your visual focus off the road. Make sure to pair your device before you’re on the road, and practice using it while parked before trying it in traffic. If you’re using a headset or headphones, remember that drivers can only wear them in one ear.
New driver? If you have a Learners or Novice licence, you aren’t allowed to use any electronic device behind the wheel, even in hands-free mode.
Check the facts. Make sure you understand the law, review the facts about distracted drivingand learn the rules around using your mobile device in a vehicle.