Op-Ed: Distracted driving will cost you – one way or another

If you knew that you were 23 times more likely to lose your money on a bad investment you probably wouldn’t write the cheque

The following is an opinion-editorial written by Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Morris:

If you knew that you were 23 times more likely to lose your money on a bad investment you probably wouldn’t write the cheque. So if you know you’re 23 times more likely to be in a crash if you text or email while driving, why would you take that chance? Let me give you some numbers to help you make the right choice every time you are behind the wheel:

* Drivers are four to five times more likely to crash if they talk on the phone while driving.

* A driver texting or emailing is 23 times more likely to be involved in a collision.

* In 2015 alone, driver inattention contributed to at least 88 deaths.

* That’s 88 families and hundreds of friends who had to say goodbye to a loved one because of distracted driving.

* Driver distraction is tied with speeding as the leading contributing factor of deaths on B.C. roads over the last year.

These are the hard facts about distracted driving: something so dangerous, earlier this year the province brought in some of the toughest penalties in Canada. If these numbers don’t make you think twice about distracted driving – maybe the stiff new penalties will. Consider this: that text, that call or that ‘like’ will cost you $543 for a first time offence. For more: www.gov.bc.ca/distracteddriving

That includes the $368 ticket you receive from police and the $175 in driver penalty point fees you’ll pay ICBC. You can be ticketed for distracted driving even if you’re idling in traffic. And the financial penalties increase each and every time a driver is caught. If you get caught twice in 12 months, you could face a driving prohibition of up to a year.

Numbers paint a compelling picture, but it’s more powerful to hear from people who have been impacted by distracted driving.

One of those stories involves a young Vancouver man named Brad Gorski. He was just 21-years-old and less than five minutes from home when he decided to check his cellphone. He ran a red light and was t-boned by a semi-truck.

His family was told he only had a 10 per cent chance of survival. But Brad didn’t die – he woke up seven weeks later. He has spent the last 11 years re-learning the things he used to do with ease – speaking, writing and walking. For Brad, the cost of distracted driving can’t be measured in penalty points or violation ticket fines: http://ow.ly/mHfq304dYWf

For Kari-Lyn Twidale, her life changed forever one day in 2010, when her aunt died after being struck by a vehicle in marked crosswalk. She is happy to share her sad story with hopes that it might get drivers to think twice: http://ow.ly/Zv59304dYZp

In the coming weeks, the province is working to drive home the message about distracted driving through stories like these and a social media public awareness campaign in partnership with Telus and ICBC. For more: https://wise.telus.com/en/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/BC-Distracted-Driving-guide-final-1.pdf

Electronic devices aren’t the only distraction. Maybe you are multi-tasking, planning dinner on the way home, thinking about a dozen other things, or involved in an intense conversation. Whatever it is – it can wait.

For your safety and the safety of all those around you – I urge you to please leave your phone alone. Think about the numbers. Are you willing to take that chance? If you choose to drive distracted, it will cost you – one way or another.

Make the safe, smart decision to get home safely at the end of the day.


Just Posted

Prince Rupert’s “pulse” Nelson Kinney passes away

Kinney served on council for 16 years and was an advocate for seniors, youth and industry

MVP of the Week: Finding inspiration on the ice

Samantha Wiley met legends of the women’s game and played in the Global Girl’s Game on March 11

Halibut quota down 15 per cent in B.C. with more restrictions coming

Recreational fishers on the North Coast face challenges to avoid another early halibut closure

Lax Kw’alaams takes the federal and provincial governments to court

The civil suit opposes the Oil Moratorium Act and the establishment of the Great Bear Rainforest

Prince Rupert Tribesmen win 2018 Junior All Native Basketball Tournament

The Tribesmen remained undefeated throughout the tournament

Heart of Our City: Nicholls and dimes

Accountant Bill Nicholls helps Rupert organizations get back on track

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Musicians Sarah Harmer, Grimes join B.C. anti-pipeline protests

Musicians are in Vancouver for the Juno Awards on Sunday night

Canadian cities hold March for our Lives events in wake of Florida shooting

Hundreds of people support the massive March for Our Lives event in Washington, D.C.

Health officials called after acid spill near B.C.-Alberta border leaks into creek

Tanker truck crashed south of Dawson Creek, spilling 17,000 litres of hydrochloric acid

Embattled band Hedley plays last show in B.C. before hiatus

About 3,000 tickets had sold for final performance at Kelowna’s Prospera Place

Trudeau to exonerate B.C. First Nations chiefs hanged in 1860s

Prime Minister to absolve Tsilhqot’in chiefs in relation to deaths of 14 construction workers

Canucks sing the Blues as they fall to St. Louis 4-1

Berglund nets two, including the game-winner, to lift St. Louis over Vancouver

Calving season brings hope for Cariboo ranchers

Still a lot of work ahead to recover from the wildfires

Most Read