2 new pilot programs to be tested in B.C. to crack down on distracted driving
The B.C. government, along with ICBC and other officials will be launching two pilot programs to test technology that may help put the brakes on distracted driving.
The first will test out a Bluetooth-enabled scope that will be able to capture images of people on their phones and then instantly share them with other officers in the area.
LISTEN: B.C. tests app to block use of mobile devices while driving
The officers will then have the ability to show the image to the distracted driver when they are pulled over.
The second program pairs phone apps with telematic technology, meaning a small device is fitted in the driver’s vehicle that communicates with an app downloaded on the driver’s phone.
The app works to block the use of a handheld device when the technology detects the vehicle is being driven.
PHOTOS: The Bluetooth-enabled scope:
ICBC says this program is set to launch in January while scope will be in use by next spring.
ICBC wants to use the findings from the pilots to inform future decisions around distracted driving prevention and enforcement, as well as changes to improve how insurance rates are set.
“Distracted driving is a serious high-risk behaviour, which is now responsible for more than 25 per cent of all car crash fatalities in our province,” said
Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General in a release. “If new technology can help police and drivers alike put an end to distracted driving, then we’ll have helped to make roads safer in B.C.”
Distracted driving is also the second leading cause of car crash fatalities in the province.
Two distracted driving tickets in one year cost approximately $1,256, but the provincial government is making a move to add $740 to the existing penalty.
This means any driver with two distracted driving tickers over a three-year period will see the total penalty go up to as much as $2,000.
Currently, about 12,000 drivers in B.C. have multiple distracted driving offences racked up in a three-year time frame.
WATCH: Vancouver police slap two distracted driving tickets to one driver within minutes
-With files from Liza Yuzda and Ria Renouf
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