$37K in distracted driving tickets handed out in Langley in a single day

Just one day after ICBC and police launched a month-long campaign to target distracted drivers, police wrote over 100 tickets in a single day in Langley for that very offence.

On Friday Sept. 2, Cpl. Greg Mainwood and his team, the Lower Mainland Integrated Road Safety Unit (IRSU), staged an operation to watch for distracted drivers.

Setting up in the area of Fraser Highway and 200 Street and at 200 Street and 64 Avenue, the five-officer team wrote more than 100 tickets to drivers who were using their cellphones while driving and another 43 to drivers who were not wearing seat belts.

Mainwood said it was the drivers who were pulling up to intersections while using their cellular phones who were were stopped.

“Many drivers were shocked to receive a $368 fine for using their phones,” said Mainwood. “Many others had excuses for why the phone was in their hands, such as playing music or checking the time.”

All of these drivers were approaching a busy intersection when observed on their device.

“Cellphones aren’t the only distractions in your vehicle,” Mainwood said.

“One driver had a medium-sized dog draped across his left arm and lap while he continued texting with his right hand as he approached the intersection. This driver was steering with his knee and no hands on the wheel.”

Police say drivers are still unclear about the role phones can play while they are driving.

“Drivers appear to be under the misinformation that picking up their phone to check text messages, change music or holding the phone to use the speaker phone function are not considered using their device,” said Const. Melissa Wutke, spokesperson for BC Traffic Services. “That is certainly not the case.

“Anytime you are holding your device in your hand, or when you are taking your eyes off of the road to manipulate buttons on that device, it is considered using the device and is subject to a $368 fine under the Motor Vehicle Act,” said Wutke.

Roadways are very dynamic environments with situations and circumstances that can change quickly. By taking your eyes off of the road for even a moment you increase the chance of a collision or accident, said police.

Drivers are reminded that any cellphone or electronic device in your vehicle must be fixed to the dash and the driver may only operate that device with one touch. Drivers may not watch the screens on those devices.

Graduated licence class 7 drivers, or those who are required to display an “L” or “N” on the vehicle, may not use any electronic device at all, including hands free or GPS.