SURREY, B.C. – Police in B.C. will be conducting intensified distracted driving enforcement this month.

Fatal and severe injury vehicle collisions due to distracted driving are preventable, and BC RCMP Traffic Services is reminding drivers to “keep your eyes on the road and your hands upon the wheel.”

According to data gathered across the province, distracted driving is responsible for more than 25 percent of all car crash fatalities. It’s the second leading cause of fatal collisions in B.C. Every year, an average of 76 people die in fatal vehicle collisions in the province because the driver was distracted or not paying attention.

According to BC RCMP, distracted driving is not just being distracted by an electric device. It also includes personal grooming, eating and drinking, reading, pets, other passengers, and not knowing your route. There is also the driver type a lot of us have witnessed on the road, the one who can’t maintain a steady speed, can’t stay in their lane, stops well short of the stop line (or fails to stop altogether), and the ones who remain stopped even though other traffic has started moving.

The Officer in Charge of BC RCMP Traffic Services, Supt. Holly Turton suggests ignoring your phone and driving responsibly, no texting, answering calls, anything in that regard.

BC RCMP is working together with ICBC and RoadSafetyBC to step up the distracted driving enforcement for September and beyond.

Fines for distracted driving start at $368, plus four penalty points and a $252 driver penalty premium assessed by ICBC, for a minimum of $620 for a first offence. Your insurance costs may also be affected.

Seatbelts are also a problem within the province, more specifically, drivers and passengers not wearing them. On average, 52 people are killed every year in collisions that may have been survivable had seatbelts been worn. The fine for not wearing a seatbelt is $167.