Nearly 2,000 distracted drivers got tickets in September

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Vancouver police department issued nearly 2,000 tickets to distracted drivers since September 1, when the province launched its distracted driving campaign.

The purpose of the campaign was to educate motorists and discourage the use of mobile devices while operating a 4,000-pound vehicle.

Police say the high number of tickets proves distracted driving is still a problem on Vancouver roads.

“If you know someone who just won’t give up their phone while driving, maybe you can have some influence,” said VPD Sgt. Jason Robillard. “We have at least 1,969 reasons to remind our loved ones to pull over or leave the phone alone while driving.”

ICBC, which is studying the feasibility of offering discounts to drivers who disable their smartphones, says distracted driving accidents account for more than 27 per cent of all fatal car crashes in B.C., with an average of 78 deaths a year.

Drivers are five times as likely to crash if they are on their phone while behind the wheel, according to insurance research.

One Vancouver woman ticketed during the month-long campaign was caught with her cellphone on her lap while eating lunch with both hands.

“The ticket amount for using an electronic device while driving in B.C. is $368,” said Sgt. Robillard. “But that cost is nothing compared to the cost of losing a loved one. It’s time to take a break from your phone.”

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