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SURREY, B.C. – Throughout March police across B.C. will be focusing on distracted driving enforcement during Distracted Driving and Occupants Restraint Awareness Month.

Fatal and serious injury accidents due to distracted driving are something that can be completely preventable, and BC RCMP Traffic Services are reminding drivers to “keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel.”

Distracted driving is responsible for more than 25 per cent of fatal car crashes in the province and is the second leading cause of fatal collisions. Every year, on average, 78 people die in fatal collisions across the province because a driver was distracted or not paying attention.

Driving while distracted is not just using a cell phone or another electronic device. It also includes personal grooming, eating or drinking, reading, pets, other passengers, and not knowing the route.

Superintendent Holly Turton, Officer in Charge of BC RCMP Traffic Services, says, “It all starts with you, ask yourself if it is worth your life or someone else’s to answer a call, check your email or send that text while you are driving. Please make the right choice when you drive — ignore your phone and drive responsibly. Your life may depend on it — and others are depending on you to get to your destination safely.”

Fines for a distracted driving ticket start at $368 and four penalty points for the first offence. The costs increase with each subsequent offence. Insurance costs may also be affected.

Seatbelt compliance is generally high in BC; however, according to an RCMP release, 50 people are killed every year in collisions that could’ve been survivable if restraints had been worn. An occupant restraint refers to all occupants of the vehicle, including children required to be secured in approved car seats for appropriate age and height. The fine for not wearing a seatbelt is $167.

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