Military Police set their sights on distracted drivers


Cpl Dustin Renz, MP Unit Esquimalt ~

The Military Police has increased ticketing of distracted drivers throughout the month of March, which is designated Distracted Driving Month.

The fine for using an electronic device while driving is $368 and four penalty points, making first-time offenders liable for $543 in charges.

With additional tickets, the cost of penalty points increases exponentially – a second ticket could cost an extra $2,000 in administrative penalties alone.

Receiving multiple tickets for using an electronic device while driving is considered a “high-risk offence”. As a consequence of this, the offender’s driving record is subject to review and ICBC may issue a driving prohibition.

The B.C. Motor Vehicle Act restricts the use of hand-held telephones, email or texting capable devices, GPS, data computing devices, hand-held audio players, hand microphones, and televisions. Wearing headphones while driving is also illegal unless it is strictly used for hands-free communications, is placed only in one ear, and is placed there prior to the vehicle being placed in motion.

The Motor Vehicle Act further defines “use” as holding the device in a position which it may be used, operating one or more of its functions, communicating orally by means of the device or watching the screen of the device. The only time telephones are permitted is if it is within easy reach, not being held in hand, if it is voice activated, or if it requires only one touch to initiate or end a call. This does not apply to class 7 “L” or “N” drivers who are, at all times, prohibited from operating any electronic devices while driving.

Military Police are authorized to issue tickets under the B.C. Motor Vehicle Act, reportable to ICBC. The Military Police are conducting plain clothes distracted driving enforcement and employ the use of spotting scopes capable of observing distracted drivers at great distances, and setting up signage throughout the base and housing areas of CFB Esquimalt.

One text or call could end it all.

According to ICBC, on average, 78 drivers a year die on B.C. roads as a result of distracted driving. Let’s make our roads a safer place for everyone and put the phones down.

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