Distracted Driving – An Ongoing Danger to Drivers, Passengers and Pedestrians
September 19, 2019
We all know that texting and driving is dangerous, and to their credit, most drivers have changed their habits since 2010, when the use of hand-held personal electronic devices were banned for those driving a vehicle.
Unfortunately, some continue to risk their lives and those of other drivers and passengers around them by being distracted when behind the wheel.
According to ICBC, on average, 77 people die every year in crashes in which distracted driving is a contributing factor – and distracted driving is responsible for more than one-quarter of all car crash fatalities in BC.
Resisting the temptation of e-mails, texts, calls, or the latest Instagram message from a friend may seem difficult – but consider how a split second of momentary distraction could alter your life forever, that of a passenger or the innocent occupants of another vehicle.
ICBC has a host of tips for safe cellphone use, which include the following:
- 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 off and put it out of sight or turn on airplane mode to avoid the temptation to check your phone.
- Assign a designated texter. Ask your passengers to make or receive calls and texts for you.
- 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.
- Use the ‘Do Not Disturb While Driving’ feature on iOS devices, ‘In-Traffic Reply’ on Samsung phones, or download a similar app to help you avoid using your phone while driving.
And for those who may not be acquainted with the rules of the road:
- Don’t use your cellphone at a red light. The law applies whenever you’re in control of the vehicle, whether 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 device 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 (www.RoadSafetyBC.ca)
Most drivers appear to be getting the message about distracted driving, but the issue of distracted pedestrians is another matter altogether. As motorists, we have all seen them – the person texting or talking on their phone, approaching an intersection or a curb, totally oblivious to some of the obvious dangers surrounding them.
To all pedestrians, please, watch for drivers turning left or right through a crosswalk, and make eye contact with drivers. If wearing ear buds, remove at least one when preparing to cross the road to ensure you hear any approaching horns or emergency vehicles approaching.
We all share the road so let’s work together to keep it as safe as possible.
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Blair Qualey is President and CEO of the New Car Dealers Association of BC. You can email him at email@example.com.
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