Police watch for texting drivers

This month, police across the province will watch for motorists on the phone or texting while driving.

This month, police across the province will watch for motorists on the phone or texting while driving.

Sgt. Stephane Lacroix of the Summerland RCMP detachment said texting motorists are a concern in all B.C. communities.

In the past, members of the detachment have issued warnings to motorists who have been texting while behind the wheel.

“When you’re driving, your attention should be on driving, not on texting,” Lacroix said. “Driving is hard enough that you don’t need anything else to distract you.”

This month police will have patrols in place to watch for texting motorists.

The penalties can be significant. Under the provincial Motor Vehicle Act, using an electronic device while driving results in a fine of $167. Emailing or texting while driving nets a fine of $167 and three points on the driver’s license.

According to the provincial Ministry of Justice, roughly one-quarter of collisions can be attributed to driver distraction.

Under provincial regulations, a driver must not hold, operate or use hand-held phones and other electronic communications devices and handheld electronic devices while driving.

Hands-free communications devices, global positioning systems and certain other electronic devices are permitted, but restrictions apply.

Lacroix urges motorists to concentrate on driving and not on other devices.

“Any time you’re doing something other than paying attention to the road, it’s dangerous,” he said.