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Still texting and driving

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A 'distracted' driver who was caught using a cell phone while driving received a ticket for breaking the law. The fine is $167 plus three penalty points. The driver and dozens of others were caught in a Counterattack roadblock in Milner on Dec. 2.
— image credit: Natasha Jones/Langley Times

In a 12-hour period last Friday, police at one Langley location caught 28 people using their cell phones or some other illegal distraction while driving.

At $167 each and three penalty points if they happen to be texting, that’s more than $4,600 in fines and the possibility of higher insurance costs under the provincial system that charges $175 extra when a driver reaches four points, then imposes ever-bigger hikes for each additional point to a theoretical maximum of $24,000 for 50 or more.

Langley RCMP Cpl. Holly Marks called the number of distracted motorists “disturbing,” because roughly half of all fatal motor vehicle accidents in the Lower Mainland are caused by distracted drivers.

The provincial law banning the use of all handheld devices while driving came into effect on Jan. 1, 2010.

Police also fined 30 drivers for failing to wear their seatbelts during the Friday, Dec. 2 crackdown, the first official day of the annual Counterattack campaign in the Lower Mainland.

Officers from the CN railway police, Fraser Valley Integrated Road Safety Unit, RCMP “E” Division T and Langley Traffic Sections began the hunt for suspected drunk drivers around 2 p.m. and continued overnight.

In addition to the distracted and belt-less drivers, here is what the officers found:

• One motorist was charged with driving impaired.

• Three were handed 24-hour suspensions for suspected drunk driving and three others got the same for suspicion of driving while high on drugs.

• Four were handed driving prohibitions.

• Drugs were seized from eight vehicles and open liquor was seized from two.

• Four drivers were ticketed for bad behaviour in intersections, and one was fined for “driving without consideration.”

• A bicyclist was also caught in the police dragnet for driving without a safety helmet.

• Twenty drivers were ticketed for lacking a proper drivers’ licence, one for having no insurance.

• Police issued 13 moving violations, five commercial vehicle infractions and 11 warnings.

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