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VIDEO: Abbotsford road safety campaign aimed at reducing distracted driving

The Abbotsford Police Department wants drivers to put down cellphones while driving.

The force is kicking off a unique campaign that combines distracted driving awareness and Valentine’s Day.

The Love Them Enough Not to Call initiative starts today and runs until Feb. 13 at 6 p.m.

APD spokesman Const. Ian MacDonald said residents can send an email to roadsafety@abbypd.ca, and on Feb. 14, police staff will call loved ones letting the recipients know, “first of all that they’re loved on Valentine’s Day, and that the driver of the loved one is committed to road safety as well.”

MacDonald said that even though the legislation banning use of handheld electronic devices while operating a motor vehicle has been in place for four years, some people aren’t getting the message.

Last Friday within a couple of hours, officers stopped 80 drivers who were using their cellphones.

“Distracted driving deaths are now starting to compete with speed- and impaired-related collisions,” MacDonald stated.

As well, the APD will be “doing a lot of enforcement this week,” he said.

February is Distracted Driving Enforcement month in British Columbia.

The Insurance Corporation of B.C. said distracted driving remains the third leading cause of fatal car crashes in B.C. On average, 91 people are killed annually.

Drivers are four times more likely to crash when talking on a handheld phone and 23 times more likely to get in a crash if they text behind the wheel.

Texting takes a driver’s eyes from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds. At 50 km/h, that is equivalent to driving 64 metres blind – more than the length of a hockey rink.

Emails to roadsafety@abbypd.ca must contain your name in a pledge not to use an electronic device while driving, and the name and daytime contact phone number of your Valentine.

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