Abbotsford Police issue almost 600 distracted-driving tickets

Part of blitz held in February, but there will be ongoing attention to the issue.

Despite being in effect for four years

Abbotsford drivers are continuing to use cellphones and other electronic devices, despite legislation passed four years ago.

During February’s Distracted Driving Month, the Abbotsford Police Department handed out just under 600 tickets for such infractions, according to Const. Ian MacDonald.

“I hate to say it, but there’s no shortage [of people breaking the law],” he said.

MacDonald said one driver who was issued a ticket had six prior fines for distracted driving, showing that the law is not a deterrent for some people.

The ticket carries a $167 fine, but the fine does not increase with subsequent offences.

MacDonald said police had no difficulty in finding people who were using cellphones and other electronic devices during their blitz.

One officer alone wrote 118 such tickets during February.

Officers were both in marked and unmarked cars, and used innovative techniques – such as posing as pedestrians – to target offenders.

Last fall, Abbotsford Police reported they had issued more than 4,000 tickets for distracted driving since 2010.

Distracted driving legislation came into effect on Jan. 1, 2010 to prohibit drivers from talking on their cellphones, texting, or using other handheld devices such as iPods, GPS systems and hand microphones.

MacDonald points out that the $167 fine for a violation exceeds the cost of most hands-free Bluetooth devices.

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