Even if you're not using your phone, you may still be distracted. Anything that takes your attention away from driving, like chatting with passengers, eating or drinking, or adjusting radio or vehicle settings, can contribute to distracted and inattentive driving. We all play a part in making our roads safe – when you're behind the wheel, focus on the road.
If you're looking at your phone, you can't see the road
Checking your phone at a red light may seem harmless, but the truth is using an electronic device behind the wheel is a dangerous distraction. Even when stopped, it affects your focus. You’re five times more likely to crash if you’re using your hand-held phone.
Leave your phone alone #EyesFwdBC
Resisting the temptation of e-mails, texts, calls, posts and cat videos can be hard but it can be done similar to being at the movies, at customs, during takeoff or landing. Think of all the times that you don’t feel like taking a break from your phone but do!
The cost of distracted driving
If you're caught distracted driving, you'll be ticketed and receive a fine of $368.
Every ticket for distracted driving also adds four driver penalty points to your driving record. If you have four or more points at the end of a 12-month period, you pay a driver penalty point (DPP) premium. These premiums start at $252 and increase for every point you accumulate. You may also have to pay a driver risk premium.
With increased enforcement throughout B.C., multiple infractions can now put a serious dent in your wallet.
Tips for safe cellphone use
- No call, text or email is so important it's worth risking your life or the lives of others. Let calls go to voicemail and ignore your text messages while driving.
- Turn it to silent and keep it out of reach and out of sight, or turn on "Do Not Disturb While Driving" features that will send automatic replies to incoming texts and route incoming calls to voicemail.
- Assign a designated texter. Ask your passengers to make or receive calls and texts for you.
- Plan ahead and make sure you have everything you need before hitting the road, like programing your navigation and infotainment systems in advance so you're not trying to do it while driving.
- Pull over to make or receive a call when it's safe to do so. For longer journeys, look for signs at highway rest areas, some of which now provide free Wi-Fi.
- Avoid looking at screens while driving, even if you're using your phone hands-free.
Learn the rules of the road
- Don't use your cellphone at a red light. The law applies even when you're stopped at a red light or in bumper-to-bumper traffic.
- Keep your hands off. Hands-free means a Bluetooth, wired headset or speakerphone that can be operated with one touch or voice commands. Make sure to secure the cellphone to the vehicle or attach it on your body before driving.
- If you have a Learner's (L) or Novice (N) licence, you aren't allowed to use any electronic devices (like phone or GPS) behind the wheel, for any purpose, even in hands-free mode.
- Make sure you understand the law on how to use electronic devices while driving