RCMP in the South Okanagan are dressing up as construction workers, and staging themselves in utility buses, in order to catch distracted drivers. (BC RCMP)

South Okanagan RCMP wearing disguises to catch distracted drivers

Distracted drivers can expect to be detected long before they ever see a police car

RCMP in the South Okanagan are getting creative in an attempt to catch distracted drivers.

Officers acting as spotters are now dressing in civilian clothing, construction uniforms, and more, and radioing ahead to let uniformed officers know of an incoming distracted driver. Traffic officers are also using commercial vehicles, like transport buses, as elevated platforms to catch those using devices while driving.

Distracted drivers can expect to be detected long before they ever see a police car or an officer in uniform, RCMP explained in a release Tuesday.

“We could just do enforcement but we would be missing an opportunity to prevent these offences from happening in the first place. To that end, we are raising awareness and actually advertising our tactics in the hopes that drivers with an illegal electronic device habit will change their behaviour,” said Sgt. Ryan McLeod, Unit Commander of South Okanagan Traffic Services (SOTS)

“Penalties aside, we are asking drivers to ask themselves one question: ‘Is that text message or phone call worth my life or the life of someone else?’”

READ MORE: Above average rainfall in Okanagan-Shuswap a positive for fire season: Environment Canada

This comes after a distracted driving enforcement blitz, across the South Okanagan in March, saw over 200 tickets issued in the communities of Penticton, Summerland, Princeton, Keremeos, Osoyoos and Oliver.

The use of hand-held electronic devices while driving, RCMP explained, has been banned in B.C. since 2010. A ticket for distracted driving involves a $368 fine and four penalty points ($252) for a total penalty of $620.

RCMP say distracted driving is responsible for more than one in four fatal crashes in B.C., and claims 76 lives each year. Studies show that drivers using their electronic devices lose sight of about 50 per cent of what is going on around them visually, and are five times more likely to crash.

The traffic authority encouraged drivers “not to play the guessing game” only to learn that the person they thought was a construction worker, pedestrian or bus passenger, was actually a police officer in disguise.

“Please make it your habit to ignore your electronic devices when driving and wear your seatbelt – it could save your life,” said the RCMP.

READ MORE: International students, B.C. homestay families learn to live together during the pandemic

READ MORE: Okanagan singer’s country hit goes viral

@PentictonNews
editor@pentictonwesternnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

RCMP

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Penticton RCMP search for missing woman last seen near Warren Ave West

25-year-old Iesha Blomquist was reported missing to Penticton RCMP on June 30

Public shows support for alcohol in outdoor spaces: City of Penticton

City council will vote on whether to continue allowing public consumption, on Tuesday, July 7

LETTER: Questions raised about Summerland solar project

Site of proposed project has been considered for previous initiatives

Interior Health will not expand Police and Crisis Team

Southeast Division Chief Superintendent Brad Haugli asked IH to expand the program

LETTER: Solar project discussion should have been public

Decision by Summerland council was made during a closed session

13 new B.C. COVID-19 cases, Langley Lodge outbreak ends

Health care outbreaks down to four, 162 cases active

Okanagan Realtors donate big to North Westside fire department

Two Kelowna-area Realtors made a generous donation to the North Westside Fire… Continue reading

SilverStar security recovers stolen bike

Reminders to residents to keep bicycles locked up, eyes open for suspicious activity

‘Justice for Mona’ protests planned in Kelowna, Lower Mainland

Security camera footage shows Mona Wang being dragged, stepped on during RCMP wellness check

Orphaned Okanagan beavers admitted to rehab centre

The two beavers are in the care of the Fawcett Family Wildlife Health Centre

Intent of killing at centre of Surrey man’s Okanagan murder trial

B.C. Supreme Court Justice Allison Beames is anticipated to return with her decision in August

Kelowna neighbourhood pond dries up again

The RDCO filled up the pond on Hall Road but it’s drying up again

Car smashes into Kelowna dollar store

The vehicle went through the front window of the store just off Highway 97 North

Most Read