NEXT time you’re driving, look around at the other drivers on the road. What do you see? Chances are you’ll notice at least one driver using their cellphone. We all know it’s illegal and risky but yet some people still do it.
With so many people dependent on their cell phones these days, distracted driving is a growing concern as people automatically reach for their phone whenever they hear a text message or call, even if they’re driving. That’s why we’re working hard to educate drivers to make our roads safer for everyone.
This fall, you’ll likely see community volunteers conducting “cell watch” deployments in your neighbourhood. Volunteers set up signs to remind drivers to leave their phone alone and they also record how many drivers they see using their phones and share the information with police. Police may also be set up further down the road to give tickets to those drivers who didn’t heed the warning from volunteers.
If your cell phone rings or you receive a text message while driving, are you ever tempted to check your phone? You can avoid the temptation by putting your cellphone in the trunk or back seat. Pay attention to the habits of your friends and family and talk to them about how to avoid using their cell phone while driving. You’re four times more likely to crash if you’re on the phone while driving.
But it’s not just drivers who get distracted. Pedestrians also need to do their part and pay attention to what’s going on around them, especially at intersections. That means removing your headphones and putting away your cellphone so you can see, hear and respond to keep yourself safe. As we head into darker, fall conditions, it’s more important than ever to stay alert – talk to your friends and family about it too.
You can show your support by displaying a decal on your vehicle as a statement that you don’t use your phone while driving and encourage others to do the same. You can pick up a decal at any ICBC driver licensing office and participating Autoplan broker locations. You can also take the “Fall of Distracted Driving” pledge at The Fox and Rock 101 websites.
No call or text is so important that it’s worth risking your life or anyone else’s. Remember, when you’re on the road, stay off the phone.
– BY HARVEY KOONER
ICBC Road Safety Coordinator