Trail Times file photo

West Kootenay RCMP targeting distracted drivers, seatbelt infractions

BC RCMP launch Distracted Driving and Occupant Restraint Campaign for September

As West Kootenay police step up enforcement this month for the RCMP’s province-wide Distracted Driving and Occupant Restraint Campaign – it’s important to recognize that distracted driving violations extend far beyond talking and texting on a cell phone.

In the Kootenays, people have been caught behind the wheel – and fined – for driving while eating soup with a spoon, driving while putting make-up on, driving wearing headphones on both ears, and driving with a dog in the driver’s lap.

And these were just the instances that immediately came to mind for Sgt. Chad Badry from West Kootenay Traffic Services.

“(There is) much more,” he recalled.

“And, unfortunately, we are still seeing a high number of people using their cell phones while driving. We are seeing a rise in the number of violations tickets issues in relation to cell phone use.”

To crackdown on distracted drivers and restraint noncompliance, Badry says traffic services is planning a one-day blitz in addition to some focused enforcement throughout September.

Read more: WK RCMP charge man with impaired driving in school zone

Read more: WK Police take 18 impaired drivers off roads

Besides watching for a range of distracted driving offences, it’s important to know that the other key violation police are targeting, occupant restraint, is about much more than the click of a seatbelt.

Officers will be checking for seatbelts, yes. But they’ll also be looking for compliance with lap belts, infant and child restraints, and booster seats.

“Not wearing a seatbelt/ restraint is still an issue,” he told the Trail Times. “Both of these offences are easily prevented and the result of being distracted or not wearing your seatbelt can be devastating.”

Badry then mentioned the serious injuries one driver, a 40-year old man, suffered in a head-on crash near Nelson earlier this year. This driver reportedly was not wearing his seatbelt, was thrown from his car, and suffered critical injuries.

The other driver, a 36-year old woman wearing her seatbelt, was not seriously injured. Further, Badry reported there was a third vehicle caught up in the accident, but there were no injuries to the occupants as a result of the hit.

“The sad part is that wearing a seatbelt can make serious crashes survivable or minor crashes, without injury,” he said. “Whereas people who choose to not wear a seatbelt are not surviving serious crashes and/or suffer significant injuries for crashes where they should not be injured at all or would receive only minor injuries.”

Police in British Columbia are always on the lookout for distracted drivers and unbelted occupants in the effort to prevent crashes, injuries and fatalities on roadways.

All of September, however, the BC RCMP is dedicating to enforcing distracted driving and occupant restraint.

According to provincial data, an average of 77 people die each year where driver distraction was a contributing factor and another 52 people die each year for failing to use a restraint.

“Both these offences are easily prevented,” says Cpl. Mike Halskov of BC RCMP Traffic Services.

“Drivers and passengers significantly reduce their chances of being injured or killed in a collision by simply ensuring they are wearing a seatbelt. Drivers reduce their chances of injuring or killing themselves, their passengers or other motorists by driving distraction-free which includes ‘leaving the phone alone.’ We ask all motorists to drive defensively, obey speed limits, wear seatbelts, drive sober and distraction free.”

Commuters can expect to see an increased police presence on highways throughout the province during this enhanced enforcement campaign and may experience short delays.

Police are asking motorists to drive safely, and obey the directions of officers at any check-stop.



newsroom@trailtimes.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Nelson Skating Club to host West Kootenay Invitational Competition

The event will include skaters from around the Kootenays

COLUMN: Getting on the bus, figuratively and literally

Anne DeGrace on efforts to improve transit in Nelson

COLUMN: Another week that Martin Scorsese would appreciate

From the Civic Theatre’s Jason Asbell

Government needs to step up to address $10M RCMP budget deficit: Morrison

Kootenay-Columbia MP Rob Morrison says governments need to ensure rural communities are protected

VIDEO: Marking Métis Week with a wild meat lunch

Nelson students were served food as part of an event centred on Métis culture

65-million-year-old triceratops makes its debut in Victoria

Dino Lab Inc. is excavating the fossilized remains of a 65-million-year-old dinosaur

B.C. widow suing health authority after ‘untreatable’ superbug killed her husband

New Public Agency Health report puts Canadian death toll at 5,400 in 2018

Changes to B.C. building code address secondary suites, energy efficiency

Housing Minister Selina Robinson says the changes will help create more affordable housing

Security guard at Kamloops music festival gets three years for sexually assaulting concertgoer

Shawn Christopher Gray walked the woman home after she became seperated from her friends, court heard

Algae bloom killing farmed fish on Vancouver Island’s West Coast

DFO says four Cermaq Canada salmon farms affected, fish not infectious

Three cops investigated in connection to ex-Vancouver detective’s sexual misconduct

Fisher was convicted in 2018 after pleading guilty to kissing two young women who were witnesses in a criminal case

Most Read