Boundary Creek Times editorial – Sept. 12: Empower police

If the fear of accident, injury and death won't deter drivers from texting maybe the fear of losing their phone might.

ICBC and the police last week launched a monthlong campaign against distracted driving.

Distracted driving is the third leading cause of fatal car crashes in B.C., with an average of 91 deaths per year due to distractions such as using a personal electronic device behind the wheel.

After speed and impaired driving, distracted driving is the third leading cause of highway fatalities.

We know these things – yet we still see drivers using their phone on a daily basis.

The Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure says you are four times more likely to crash when talking on a handheld phone behind the wheel, and 23 times more likely to get in a crash if you text while driving.

ICBC has identified distracted driving as a common cause of rear-end crashes and injuries and says there is no safe following distance when your mind is not on the road.

B.C.’s mobile device law prohibits a driver from using a hand-held electronic communication device. That includes hand-held cellphones, PDAs and other electronic hand-held devices such as music players, GPS Navigation Systems, etc.

Drivers are also banned from sending or receiving text messages or electronic email on any type of electronic device.

Any violations of the law will cost drivers a $167 fine and then the point system will ensure you continue to pay with higher insurance premiums.

The easiest solution though might be to impose a mandatory minimum sentence in cases of distracted driving.

Empower police officers to place the phone on the ground beside your car and stomp on it.

If you think loss of phone privileges too great an inconvenience try looking at it from the perspective of a mother or father who lost their child because of a distracted driver.