Kelowna drivers still up to ‘dangerous habit,’ RCMP say

Kelowna RCMP issued 591 distracted driving tickets in March, which they said indicates mobile device use behind the wheel remains an issue in the central Okanagan city.

Distracted driving is a dangerous habit that puts everyone on our roads at risk,” Sgt. Mark Booth, spokesperson for the Kelowna RCMP Municipal Traffic Section, said.

March was ‘Distracted Driving’ and ‘Occupant Restraint Awareness’ month in B.C., according to police, and Kelowna RCMP set out to target distracted drivers.

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Besides the nearly 600 violation tickets, police said another 15 drivers were given warnings for using electronic devices while operating a motor vehicle.

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Further, there were 191 tickets and 16 warnings issued for seatbelt infractions, according to RCMP.

“We will continue to utilize enforcement and education to ensure the safety of the travelling public,” Booth said.

Police said distracted driving is responsible for more than 25 per cent of all car crash fatalities and is the second leading cause of fatal collisions in B.C.

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Every year, an average of 78 people die in fatal motor vehicle collisions in B.C. because the driver was distracted or not paying attention, according to RCMP.

“Ask yourself it is worth your life or someone else’s to answer a call, check your email or send that text while you are driving,” B.C. RCMP Traffic Services commander Supt. Holly Turton said.

The fines in B.C. for distracted driving (using electronic device = four points or driving without due care = six points) start at $368 and four penalty points for the first offence, and the costs increase with each subsequent offence. In addition, your insurance costs may be affected.

The fine for not wearing a seatbelt in B.C. is $167. The driver can face those fines if any of their passengers are also not properly restrained.

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Click to play video: 'Okanagan residents react to harsher distracted driving penalties' Okanagan residents react to harsher distracted driving penalties
Okanagan residents react to harsher distracted driving penalties – May 9, 2016

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