Editorial: Put down the phone and driver

Road checks in Penticton prove people aren't getting the message about distracted driving

In British Columbia, the law has been on the books since January 2010, and yet there are obviously way too many people who just don’t give a darn.

The distracted driving legislation prohibits the reading or sending of text messages or e-mails and making or receiving phone calls on a hand-held device while behind the wheel.

In 2010, according to the RCMP, distracted driving was a contributing factor in 104 collision fatalities in British Columbia.

Have we learned our lesson?

Statistics from 2012 show the number of fatalities associated with distracted driving was about 100.

Last week, the Penticton RCMP, along with detachments across the province, spent portions of four days specifically targeting distracted drivers, in private vehicles and commercial vehicles.

In Penticton, RCMP officers issued 103 tickets for distracted driving.

The fine for distracted driving, other than reading or sending text messages, is $167.  Add three demerits if reading or sending text messages.

Compared to the fines and penalties for drinking and driving, the fines for distracted driving are minimal, and given the frequency of distracted driving, it appears the fines and penalties are not serving as a deterrent.

The potential consequences of distracted driving are just as serious as drinking and driving and the fines should match.

We don’t need one more person dying because someone just had to call their BFF.