Time to put down cellphones, police tell drivers

Mounties are keeping an extra keen eye out for distracted drivers this month

Talking on a cellphone makes a driver four times as likely to be in a crash

Talking on a cellphone makes a driver four times as likely to be in a crash

Police across B.C. are warning drivers they are on the look out for chatty people and texting tailgaters this month.

Holding a cellphone in your hand on speakerphone will get you pulled over and ticketed and so will leaving a cellphone on your console and texting while stopped at a light, said RCMP Cpl. Robert McDonald of traffic services.

The reason for the expensive reminder of these driving laws is the number of deaths and crashes caused by distracted drivers.

In 2012, 30 per cent of fatal crashes involved distracted drivers and 37 per cent of serious injuries involved distracted driving.

Since the ban on using hand-held cellphones while driving took effect in January 2010, many people haven’t stopped talking and texting, they have just changed how they do it, said police and ICBC. Since 2010, police in B.C. have issues 105,972 tickets. At $167 per ticket, that translates to $17.69 million chatty and texting drivers contributed to policing and municipal revenues.

Drivers with an L and N are not permitted to use any devices, including hands-free devices, said police.