Rows of signs planted along boulevards in Langley reminded drivers to leave their phones alone while behind the wheel. During a March 17 blitz, Langley RCMP issued 38 tickets for distracted driving.

Langley RCMP hand out 38 tickets during distracted driving blitz

More than one driver claimed to have been holding their wallet to their ear when they were busted for talking on phone, said police

  • Mar. 22, 2016 7:00 a.m.

Using a hand-held device while driving has been illegal since 2010, yet many drivers still aren’t getting the message.

Langley RCMP issued 38 violation tickets for distracted driving on March 17 during a day-long enforcement campaign to remind drivers to leave their phones alone.

With March designated as distracted drivers month, the Langley traffic section has been out in full force using unmarked cars and other innovative ways to catch violators.

Beyond receiving an expensive fine — $167 plus three penalty points (a higher cost than most hands-free blue tooth devices) — the consequences of distracted driving are drastic.

According to ICBC, on average 81 people die every year in crashes related to distracted driving — the second leading cause of car crash fatalities in B.C. Those who are on their phone are five times more likely to crash, and drivers speaking on a cellphone are 50 per cent less aware of what is happening around them.

Despite these statistics, many violators on March 17 still had excuses. Some of the common explanations given to Langley RCMP were:

• It was their son/daughter calling, they had to answer

• It was work/their boss calling, they had to answer

• They were only answering their phone to let the caller know they couldn’t talk

• They were holding their phone and using it on speaker phone, calling it “hands-free”

• They were holding it in their hands, but claiming they weren’t using it

• It wasn’t their phone held up to their ear, it was their wallet (more than one driver said this)

Langley RCMP also issued 18 seatbelt tickets, 15 intersection tickets and another 15 tickets for a variety of other reasons during the campaign.

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